How False Rumors Plague the Internet: 'Uber-Driver Human Trafficking' Conspiracy Follows Kidnapping of Olivia Ambrose
Boston, MA - After the disappearance of Olivia Ambrose, some Boston-area residents (and members of the depths of the internet) conjured up a rumor connecting human trafficking to ride-sharing apps in Massachusetts. This, like so many conspiracy theories before, was a fabrication of overactive minds.
Olivia Ambrose was kidnapped by Victor Pena, this is true, but it wasn’t an Uber human trafficking operation. Ambrose was found a few days later in Pena’s apartment after being kidnapped by Pena against her will.
That’s not the story some Cambridge residents believed, however. According to some viral text message screenshots, many thought it was because of a human trafficking operation going down right there in the city. The initial message that everyone was starting to believe stated that Uber drivers were starting to offer women drugged candy or water. Supposedly, once the drugs kicked in, the women would then be passed on to someone else. The message went on to state that investigators were starting to warn women to not use Uber alone or at night.
The truth finally came out to the rumor earlier this week. The Cambridge Police Department stated that Uber was not in connection with the Ambrose case whatsoever. Everyone who has called the station asking questions about the rumor and the case have been told the same information. The police department went as far as to post it on Facebook for all to see.
According to the person that shared the initial rumored text message, the person had said that she found out the information from an inside person. When the Cambridge Police Department caught wind of this, they stated that no such information is true and there is currently no investigation on the matter; the information was not valid.
Of course, the police department took this as an opportunity to remind anyone getting into a ride-sharing vehicle can be risky. Following the advice below is what the police urge you to do:
1. Always request a ride from Uber or Lyft, or similar services, while you’re inside. Wait inside until the driver arrives.
2. Take note of the license plate, the driver’s photo on the app you are using, and the driver’s name. Make sure all information matches the information given to you by the app you are using.
3. Ask the driver who they are supposed to be picking up; make the driver say you’re name so that you know you’re getting into the right car.
4. Do not get into a ride-sharing car that was not meant to pick you up, even if the driver offers to bring you where you need to go at a lower rate.
5. Always sit in the backseat if you’re riding alone, this will give you a chance to exit the car quicker.
6. Share the details of your ride with a family member or friend so they can know you’re safe; if something happens, they’ll be able to give this information to the police.
7. Do not share any personal information with the driver.
8. Call 9-1-1 if you feel unsafe.