It is a bit of a nightmare when your Uber account is unexpectedly hacked. In Ireland, the app of choice seems to be Hailo or as it is now called, mytaxi. I usually only use Uber when I am abroad.

Inside the app you save your card details and I don’t really think about it otherwise. During the night I usually have my phone on silent as I sometimes get international messages when I am sleeping.

A Rude Awakening

After waking, I eventually checked my phone. Interestingly, I had a couple of messages from Uber which appeared to be the same type as you would get when you order a car. Only in Russian.

I figured it was one of those spam type messages that you sometimes get on your phone and I planned to ignore it. I decided to get ready for work and headed off. On the way, a niggling feeling resulted in me opening the app.

Well, well, well…

Someone in Russia had clearly hacked my app. My name and address was replaced with that of someone else! Quickly I checked what to do on the Uber web site and it recommended that if you still have access to the app to change your password.

I followed the instructions and changed my details back. I couldn’t change the phone number from the Russian number though which perplexed me. Arriving at work I put it out of my mind.

Can’t Get Uber Out Of My Head

Not too long after, I checked my credit card. I could see a transaction for just over a Euro and a matching refund transaction. Actual evidence that I was not going mad – someone had tried to use my account!

Logging out of the app – which is something I never do – meant an unusual welcome screen asking for my phone number. I figured that as the number in my account did not match that it would set me up a new account.

Red Alert!

There is no way to contact Uber by phone so I logged an “I think my account has been hacked” and sent off a message that way. This is now about 12 hours ago and I have no response.

In the meantime I worked out that if I turned on the location service for Uber and then log in, it automatically updated my phone number and my account is now completely back to normal. Of course, they send you a text to verify your phone so it all matches.

Overall Thoughts

I found the whole experience to be rather convoluted. First, what if someone was using the app for trips and I was charged? Next, for someone unfamiliar with how to bring an account back, it is disconcerting not to be able to change your phone number. I have the location services turned off when I am not using the app but apparently you need to have it on.

Either way, the lesson here is to make sure that your apps have strong passwords. I am usually quite blase but now I have made sure these kind of apps have a proper password and not a very easy one.

Has this happened to you? How was your experience? Thank you for reading and if you have any comments or questions, please leave them below.

Guess what, kids? You can find me on Twitter and Instagram too!
Featured image by Logan Meis via Unsplash.