Car Industry

Car2Go car-sharing in Chicago on pause following fraud problem

The Daimler-owned car-sharing system has been temporarily disabled within the city.

Daimler's Car2Go car-sharing program gives its users the chance to hop into select Mercedes or Smart vehicles for short periods of time, whether it's for a jaunt out of town or just a quick trip to the grocery store. In Chicago, though, it appears the vehicles are being used for somewhat different purposes -- committing crime.

A tweet from CBS News Chicago's Brad Edwards alleges that Car2Go's service in Chicago was "hacked," citing sources. Edwards' tweet claims that almost 100 cars are involved, and that they have been taken illicitly and used to commit crimes. 

CBS News reports that Car2Go has paused its service in Chicago, saying in the app that it "will provide an update as soon as possible."

Car2Go says it wasn't a hack, however, but rather fraud. "We are currently working with law enforcement to neutralize a fraud issue, isolated to Chicago," said a Car2Go spokesperson in an emailed statement. "There was no 'hack.' No personal or confidential member information has been compromised. Out of an abundance of caution and safety for our members we are temporarily pausing our Chicago service. No other Share Now North American market has been affected. We will provide an update as soon as possible."

It's unclear how the vehicles were commandeered. According to local scanners, Car2Go is in the process of shutting down all the ill-gotten vehicles, which include the Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class, CLA-Class and the Smart Fortwo. It's likely that, if Car2Go is capable of remotely disabling the vehicles, the company is able to track the cars' locations, as well. 

Car2Go's sharing scheme is pretty straightforward. The cars are located on the street and in specific lots around the city. Using Car2Go's app, you can reserve a vehicle and, upon reaching it, unlock the door with a single tap. Dropping the car off can happen at any spot within a predefined "home area."