Chicago man gets $6,300 lost in fraudulent rideshare charges back – NBC Chicago

A Chicago man who was hit by fraudulent rideshare charges of more than $6,300 got his money back thanks to NBC 5 Responds while explaining how the problem fell into his lap.

Victor Sowder told NBC 5 Responds the charges were easy to miss at first, until a $200 charge appeared on his debit card, triggering a notification sent to his phone.

“I received an update on my phone that there was a $200 fee for an elevator. So I went on my phone and looked at my bank account and noticed there were multiple charges on my account,” Sowder said.

In total, he faced a total of 133 charges from Lyft, totaling $6,320.29. Sowder said he did not authorize any of the charges, so he filed a fraud complaint with his bank.

The bank closed the investigation without helping Sowder recover the money charged to his debit card.

Sowder told NBC 5 Responds he contacted Lyft directly after not receiving the money from his bank.

According to Sowder, Lyft said it opened another account under its own name.

“Somehow through Lyft they opened another account with my card,” Sowder said.

He insisted he did not open the secondary Lyft account himself and said he did not give anyone permission to do so.

Sowder believes someone had access to his debit card information.

When Sowder didn’t know where to turn for help, he contacted NBC 5 Responds.

We reached out to Lyft about the accusations that Sowder said he didn’t make. Then Lyft sent Sowder a message saying in part: “We can conclude that these charges were made by a fraudster and you are not responsible for these amounts.” »

This was happy news for Sowder, although the story didn’t end there.

Lyft followed up with Sowder, asking him to fill out a W-9 form. “Why should I fill out a W-9 form? I am neither an employee nor a contractor,” Sowder said.

NBC 5 Responds followed up with Lyft again, asking why it was asking Sowder to pay taxes for a refund of charges that Lyft itself claimed were made fraudulently.

Lyft did not respond to that question, telling us it was directed to Sowder. He later received a non-disclosure agreement from Lyft, offering him a full refund of $6,320.29. Sowder told NBC 5 Responds he agreed to the terms.

Key takeaways

Avoid rideshare fraud on your debit card by linking a credit card to your rideshare account. Once money is taken out of your bank account, it can be difficult to get it back. You may find it easier to dispute credit card charges.

According to the Fair Credit Billing Act:

  • If you notice fraudulent charges on a credit card statement, you have 60 days to dispute the charges.
  • The credit card issuer must initiate an investigation within 30 days of receiving the complaint.
  • The credit card company has an additional 90 days to resolve the dispute or provide a written explanation of why the charge is being continued.
  • You are not responsible for paying any disputed charges while the investigation is pending.

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