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Uber drivers in China allegedly pretending to be zombies in scam

Technically Incorrect: In China, some Uber drivers allegedly post scary pictures on the app, so that riders cancel, but drivers pocket the cancellation fee.

Technically Incorrect offers a slightly twisted take on the tech that's taken over our lives.


Samples of ghost-driver profiles are being posted to Chinese social media.

Weibo screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

Uber has garnered a reputation as a company for which asking permission is less preferable than disrupting with cavalier élan.

Some might see a touch of irony, therefore, that some of its drivers in China are being accused of using their own cavalier ingenuity to take passengers for a ride, without actually taking them for a ride.

As the Guardian reports, some Uber customers are saying that drivers post profile pictures that make them look like zombies.

Passengers are supposedly so disturbed by these images that they cancel their rides.

The drivers, however, pocket a cancellation fee.

In China, Uber offers drivers a subsidy.

Originally, if a driver claimed to rack up 30 rides, they qualified for a 300 yuan subsidy (around $45). These were reduced in June, the Financial Times reported. It's unclear how much they might currently be.

Some might find this tale less than believable. Some might find it plain scary. There might be those, however, who see a driving entrepreneurial spirit coursing through the notion.

The Chinese phenomenon already has a name: Ghost-drivers.

Who wants to be driven by a ghost? The ghoul might take a strange turn and before you know it, you're heading for an underworld from which you may never return.

Uber didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

The company did tell Quartz: "We have taken immediate actions and banned these reported individual fraud accounts while continuing to investigate and crack down on any fraudulent behavior to protect rider and driver interests."

The Chinese news site Sixth Tone reports that some ghost-drivers allegedly claim a rider has entered their vehicle when they haven't. They then cancel the ride, again pocketing a little money.

I wonder if anyone has been tempted to get into one of these ghost-driven cars and, before the driver has begun the journey, screamed very loud in his ear.