When Frankie DiGiacco, a former prosecutor for the southern California branch of the Justice Department, saw the scam, he couldn’t believe it had worked. It was so simple, he says, he was surprised that ride-share and delivery companies hadn’t spotted it.

Last year, Homeland Security Investigations agents and DiGiacco were tipped off to a case in which Brazilian nationals appeared to have stolen thousands of ride-share and delivery company customer identities across California. Companies affected include the biggest names in the business: Amazon, Uber and its Eats division, Instacart, Doordash, Postmate, Lyft and Grubhub. They used the pilfered identities to create driver and courier accounts at those same companies. These could then be sold or rented to anyone who wanted them, including people who wouldn’t normally qualify for employment at ride-share and delivery companies, such as undocumented immigrants, convicted criminals or those who can’t legally drive in the U.S. Perpetrators of the scam could even claim referral bonuses, sometimes as much as $1,500, for finding new drivers, the DOJ found. 

That’s all according to a Justice Department complaint against five Brazilian nationals filed in the Southern District of California federal…

Read more…