It makes sense. More driver profiles (although it’s fake) means more business. But it’s unethical and creates safety risks.
Australia’s new Fair Work Legislation Amendment Bill introduced to parliament might result in better pay for independent contractors and freelancers online – especially delivery drivers and e-hailing operators. The government wants to criminalize unfair payment of these workers.
Delivery workers have been creating fake accounts, using their friends or family members’ identities to create more profiles with extra mobile phones. This way, when there is a new order, the driver with five profiles is more likely to get the gig in a competitive market.
Business Insider reports that this has reached a desperate point where customers have turned to social media platforms like TikTok to raise their safety concerns. This is a widespread problem in the US.
New technology solving old problems
Zoom2u and Locate2u’s CEO, Steve Orenstein, has extensive experience in the delivery space and how drivers operate. “This is something that’s probably happened for a long time, and it’s not just related to delivery drivers. I think you’ve seen this with taxi drivers where they’re sharing taxi plate licenses. That’s definitely a problem.”
Orenstein believes Artificial Intelligence can solve this old problem. “The driver registers and goes through an onboarding process. They capture a photograph of that driver every time they log into the account. It says, show me a picture of who you are, and it recognizes that they’re the person.”
It might be soon that drivers figure out another loophole to cut corners. Orenstein says: “They’re going to get smarter in figuring out these types of things. Companies will have to think about technologies and how to solve these types of security problems. When you build these businesses, you often don’t think about how someone will use it fraudulently.”
Loopholes in the vetting process?
Many delivery companies use simple and easy-to-use application systems for new drivers to onboard. Most companies request a police check to ensure the driver doesn’t pose any risk to potential customers. “A criminal activity can happen at any point in time, and you’ve got to be regularly checking these records,” says Orenstein.
“It’s where we found what’s important is capturing live customer reviews,” says Orenstein. He says it’s essential that someone in the business reads the negative reviews and assesses where the problem stems from. “Doing a bit of investigation into that to understand what’s occurred. That can be the best way to solve the problem because you understand in real-time what’s going on.”