Grab and Gojek drivers caught modifying apps, hiking user fare

(The Star) – A new trend is emerging among unscrupulous Grab and Gojek drivers in Singapore – using bootleg versions of the apps to earn extra income.

The New Paper highlighted the issue after Grab driver, Boon Tat Tan, alleged that some of his colleagues were using modified apps which allow them to cancel rides with no consequence and even deliberately force surge pricing in order to charge users higher fares.

In the interview, the whistleblower Grab driver stated that while he had to work more than 12 hours to make Sg$200 (RM602) a day, others with the bootleg apps earned more while putting in fewer hours.

The New Paper’s investigation also claimed that drivers who use these modified apps can “bypass verification, fake their location, cancel jobs without being penalised”, and in some cases even view customers’ private details.

The article further claimed that there is an active online community specialising in hacking and modifying these apps, with some even offering their services to non-tech savvy drivers who lack the know-how to do it themselves.

Apparently, these services are advertised on online forums and even messaging apps – one such service even claimed to offer assistance at Sg$350 (RM1,053) a month for the Grab Driver app, and Sg$200 (RM602) a month for the Gojek app.

The article stated that both Grab and Gojek are aware of the scheme, which they have classified as “fraud”.

A Grab spokesperson was quoted as saying that the company has data scientists focusing working on anti-fraud efforts, and that it will suspend “bad actors who exhibit fraudulent behaviour on our platform”.

Suspension of drivers and reporting them to the authorities are some of the actions Gojek will take on its unscrupulous drivers, a spokesperson for the company added.

However, the companies did not divulge the number of errant drivers caught in this scheme, the article stated.