FBI warns predators could exploit rideshare services

Morning In America

(NewsNation) — The FBI is warning parents that child predators could use rideshare services to gain access to children.

Retired FBI agent and child abduction expert Jeffrey Rinek said parents should think about the risks of using services like Lyft or Uber for their children.

“Offenders that preferred children are always going to be thinking about it and looking for ways to make it happen,” he said.

Rinek explained that part of the danger comes because once someone gets in the car, the driver controls the environment.

“If the driver has rigged the car, for instance, or has arranged things to help them accomplish what they want to do, we have to always face the reality that we don’t have total control. And I strongly recommend that parents always maintain control of the environment and where they are with their children,” Rinek said.

In the warning, the FBI called this a “trend” and referenced the case of a teen who booked a rideshare from Oregon to Texas and was offered a drink by the driver and later woke up in a house miles away from his destination.

Uber and Lyft both say they conduct criminal background checks on drivers, though Rinek said it’s not clear how thorough those are.

When it comes to their children’s safety, Rinek said parents can’t be too cautious.

“I believe that parents always have to think ahead and what they’re doing, for instance, a mom that leaves one or more children in a car and leaves it running, so she can go in and get the mail or get this or get that. And then somebody comes along takes the car with the children in it,” Rinek said.

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