This Week in Rideshare: Ads, Rewards, and Scams.

MONDAY 8/8/22

Lyft launches a new media division to cash in on ads. TechCrunch reported:

The ride-hailing company announced on its blog Monday that Lyft Media will help cash in on the growing market for in-vehicle digital ads, as cars become more connected and begin to feature multiple, larger infotainment screens. The announcement comes days after Lyft and its biggest competitor, Uber, announced robust second-quarter financial results.

Lyft said it plans to roll out the service to 25% of its rides in Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco and Washington, DC to reach millions of riders by the end of the year.

Lyft said that a portion of revenue from the display and tablet ads will go to its drivers, but it’s unclear how much of that money drivers will get.

TUESDAY 8/9/22

A driver is receiving a $250k settlement after being unlawfully detained. Yahoo! News reported:

The incident itself stems from October 2017, court documents show. DeArmond dropped a passenger off at the Extended Stay America at 2225 Interstate North Parkway around 9 p.m., before driving to the parking lot at the nearby Pappadeaux and Pappasito’s restaurants.

Three police cars arrived with their lights on, and at least one of the officers had his gun drawn (if not pointed). DeArmond was told to put her hands up, and explained that she was an Uber driver.

Police then handcuffed DeArmond, saying, “We’ll tell you (what’s happening) in a second ma’am. Cooperate right now. We’ll talk to you and tell you everything that is going on."

WEDNESDAY 8/10/22

Instacart launches a rewards program for its gig workers. RetailWire added:

To qualify for Cart Star, shoppers accumulate points based on the number of orders they fulfill within a three-month qualifying period, earning 10 points per order. Gold Cart status kicks in at 200 points, Platinum Cart at 1,000 points, and Diamond Cart will have earned 2,000 points.

Rewards under the program include:

Childcare discount: Diamond Cart shoppers gain access to two days of Backup Care in-home for a child, senior or pet, or in-center childcare, through a partnership with Care.com for $1 per hour or $10 per day.

Gas/oil change discount: Through partnerships with Upside and CarAdvise, shoppers across all three Cart Star levels receive cash back at gas stations and a discount on an oil change. Platinum and Diamond Cart members receive bigger savings.

Customer recognition: Platinum and Diamond Cart shoppers receive recognition in the Instacart app, indicating to customers their status, number of orders shopped and how long they’ve been delivering for Instacart. In testing, customers who saw a top shopper badge on their profile were likelier to leave a higher rating and higher tip for their shopper.

Preferred order status: Diamond Cart shoppers who are within close range of a store’s location gain priority access to batches and exclusive early access to batches with the ability to accept batches before stores open.

THURSDAY 8/11/22

MarketWatch added tips to help gig workers from falling victim to extra tax burdens. The tips included:

Nina Olson, executive Director for the Center for Taxpayer Rights in Washington, and a former national taxpayer advocate for the Internal Revenue Service, said it’s important for the affected gig workers to take proactive steps to avoid tax nightmares.

Act early: Gig workers should try to act before receiving their 1099 tax forms that show annual income. If they “catch [a loss from a fraud or scam] quickly enough,” they should ask the platform to adjust their payouts on the form before the end of the year…

Report theft: If workers have received their 1099 forms and the stolen earnings are included in the total income shown, they should report their income as shown on the 1099 form. Then they should report the amount they lost as a “theft loss” on their tax return, according to the experts who spoke with MarketWatch.

Use SSN alternative: If a worker’s Social Security number was stolen as part of the scam that caused the lost earnings, that worker should use an “identity-protection PIN” from the IRS instead of an SSN.

All the experts stressed the importance of keeping good records. When workers file their taxes and claim a theft loss, they need to make sure they can back up their claim with records of correspondence about their loss of earnings.

FRIDAY 8/12/22

Old scams are finding new targets: gig workers. Chicago Sun-Times reported:

“If you’re a gig worker in Chicago for longer than a month, you’ve definitely run into a scam artist,” says Sanchez, who left full-time rideshare driving in March 2020 and is now director of the Independent Drivers Guild of Illinois.

Workers who offer rides, deliver groceries, pet-sit or perform other tasks on apps are being targeted by old scams repurposed for the gig economy, including:

Fake websites that mimic real gig work platforms;

Emails or texts from scammers who pretend to be hiring freelancers;

Fake communications that appear to be from a real gig work app, claiming to need the worker’s login and password or their personal or banking information;

Fraudulent postings on social media offering high-paying orders on grocery shopping trips — if the gig worker pays an upfront fee.

SUNDAY 8/14/22

In Chicago? This Sunday, LegalRideshare will be attending the first-ever Chicago GigFest. Stop by to chat with us and ask questions. Plus:

  • Enter our Mario Kart 64 Tournament for a chance to win cash prizes & gas cards.
  • Enter raffles for a chance to win more prizes.
  • Food trucks, DJs, health services and more!

RSVP HERE

LegalRideshare is the first law firm in the United States to focus exclusively on Uber®, Lyft®, gig workers, delivery and e-scooter accidents and injuries. Consultations are always free.

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