Lyft adds new safety feature in Minneapolis over uptick in carjackings targeting rideshare drivers

Lyft is rolling out a new safety feature in Minneapolis that requires an additional form of ID from riders using anonymous payment methods like Venmo. The move comes in response to more than 40 carjackings and robberies of rideshare drivers reported in the city since August. 

Last month, the Minneapolis Police Department issued a city-wide alert warning rideshare drivers of targeted carjackings and aggravated robberies. The incidents often followed the same pattern: a rideshare request was made with a stolen phone. When the driver arrived at the pickup location, a group of armed individuals often driving stolen vehicles would block the driver’s exit, surround the vehicle and demand the driver get out and give up their wallet, phone and phone security code. The group would then leave, stealing the rideshare vehicle. 
Some drivers were assaulted, including being pistol-whipped, police said. 

Lyft’s new safety feature is designed to deter these types of incidents by requiring additional ID from riders who set up accounts using anonymous payment methods such as prepaid cards, gift cards, Venmo and PayPal, which are frequently linked to fraud and other high-risk behaviors, according to a news release. 

Riders are asked to provide a driver’s license, state ID or another type of document showing their name or mailing address. 

There has been an upward trend in carjackings in Minneapolis over the last year. In May, police data showed a 200% increase from the prior year. 

Police are currently investigating six carjackings that occurred on Friday night alone. It is unclear if the incidents are connected.