Uber Working With Florida Authorities to Track Down Those Who Conned Grandparents

Uber is assisting Florida authorities to help track down the people responsible for carrying out so-called "grandparent scams" against a 75-year-old man and an 82-year-old woman in separate incidents.

It was not immediately clear if the two instances are connected, but the grandparents in both cases were instructed to withdraw money before someone came to collect it using the ride-sharing service.

Detectives in Tampa requested Uber's help in investigating the case of the 75-year-old man who was conned out of $10,000 after being told that his granddaughter needed the money to get out of jail.

Uber is also helping the Hillsborough Sheriff's Office to identify potential suspects in the case of the 82-year-old woman conned out of $700,000, almost her entire life savings, by a woman claiming to be her granddaughter and a man who claimed to be her lawyer.

Uber said that it is cooperating with detectives seeking the names of Uber account holders, credit card information and ride histories in connection to the cases.

In the 82-year-old woman's case, the scammers convinced her over the summer that her granddaughter was in legal trouble and needed money. She was instructed to make 13 different withdrawals from BB&T branches across the Tampa area.

They advised her to tell any bank workers who expressed concern about the withdrawals that the money was for home improvements and her contractors had requested to be paid in cash. She was also given instruction on how to wrap bricks of money in padded envelopes ahead of when it would be collected.

She eventually handed stacks of money over to couriers using an Uber. The woman did not arrange for the Uber rides herself, she told investigators.

The woman's lawyer has filed a lawsuit against Truist Bank, created by a BB&T and SunTrust merger. The filing alleges that the bank was negligent in allowing the woman to make the large and strange withdrawals even after concerns were raised.

Uber Assisting Police Investigations
Uber is assisting Florida authorities to help track down the people responsible for carrying out so-called “grandparent scams” against a 75-year-old man and an 82-year-old woman in separate incidents. Hollie Adams/Getty Images

In the latest case, the North Tampa man was contacted by someone claiming to be his granddaughter's lawyer, asking him to withdraw $10,000 on May 11, the Tampa Bay Times reported.

At first he was instructed to go to a bail bonds business, but then was told that someone would come for the money in a silver Toyota with an Uber plate on the front dashboard. Uber confirmed the trip, and now a search warrant seeks more information to follow the money.

"Uber strictly prohibits the use of the Uber app to commit crimes and regularly works with law enforcement to assist with investigations," Uber told the Tampa Bay Times.

Uber's guidelines say the service maintains user data as described in its privacy notice and terms of use, disclosing information to law enforcement "in accordance with the Electronic Communications Privacy Act."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.