Photo by Paul Hanaoka on Unsplash

How to Scam a Free Ride on Lyft

William Wen
4 min readJan 5, 2022

This actually happened to me as a driver this past summer. It’s pretty brilliant, yet evil, that someone figured out how to hack the system. I’ll tell you exactly how it’s done.

In case you didn’t get it, I was being sarcastic. Please don’t scam your Lyft driver.

Step 1: Request a multi stop ride

Did you know that you can request multi-stop rides on Lyft? It’s actually pretty easy to do. Set a pickup location, set a destination to stop #1, and then set another destination to stop #2.

I actually get multi stop rides fairly often. Usually they are to locations with names like Green Theory, Higher Leaf, Evergreen Market, where the customer makes a quick pickup and goes back home to, shall we say, relax. If you don’t know what I’m referring to, you will when you get older.

On May 3, I had a pickup from 4227 West Lake Sammamish to the 7–11 in Redmond off of 51st, then to an office building near by. This guy has over 100 rides and a 5.0 star record. Everything seems perfectly normal.

Step 2: Request driver to stop “near” destination #1

Although the 7–11 had a parking lot, the passenger asked me to park at the office building labelled Aerotek nearby. This is a bit unusual, but critical to pulling off the scam.

Note that from the Aerotek location, I don’t have a clear view of the 7–11, especially since I parked facing away from the 7–11. A line of trees divide the two parking lots, blocking most of the view.

Step 3: Ignore all contact by the driver

After dropping off the rider, I swipe the Lyft app to mark leg one as completed. I am now waiting for the passenger to return before starting the second leg of the drive. Technically I’m not in “drive” mode. Again, this is critical to pulling off the scam.

William Wen

25 years in tech | 13 years @ Google | 9+ years Tesla Investor | |