Life-saving tips to know before getting into a ride share

NORFOLK, Va. - The murder of a 21-year-old University of South Carolina student is gaining national attention and striking a nerve in Hampton Roads.

Samantha Josephson was killed after getting into a car that she mistakenly thought was her Uber.

While the driver in this case was not employed by Uber, local college students are taking extra precautions when it comes to using ride shares.

Before even getting in the car, Old Dominion freshman Deamina Collier said she goes through a checklist of things.

"I definitely look at the license plates. They should match up [with the information listed in the app] and if they don't, there's an issue."

When requesting a ride with Uber, the company will provide you with the vehicle's license plate and the driver's photo as well as their name. You should verify all three before agreeing to get in the car.

You're also able to contact your driver before getting in the ride. According to Uber's website, the app automatically anonymizes both phone numbers to protect everyone’s privacy.

A sophomore at Old Dominion University, Alesis Reeder, told News 3 that she always calls the driver beforehand so she knows she's getting in the right vehicle.

It's also a good rule of thumb to ask the driver who they are picking up before telling them your name. Never give a stranger more information than they need.

"They have options to keep things safe. Just, again, being cautious of your environment and where you are [is important]. You have to know what car you're getting into," Collier said.

Even though most drivers have the ride sharing company's logo on their car, senior Jahleel Burrell said that's not always enough. "You never know who could have been a Lyft driver at a time and they still kept the sticker and who's just trying to just prey on people, just because you know people use ride-sharing apps all the time and it's very frequent nowadays."

Uber's Safety Tips for Riders also said to request the ride inside so you're not spending unnecessary time outside where someone could take advantage of you.

"You never know what could happen; you just have to stay as safe as possible," Burrell said.

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