Murder of Student by Fake Uber Driver Prompts Safety Campaign: What’s My Name?

Chevrolet Impala used in the murder of South Carolina student Samantha Josephson 6 photos
Photo: Twitter / Columbia Police Department
Chevrolet ImpalaChevrolet ImpalaChevrolet ImpalaChevrolet ImpalaChevrolet Impala
On Friday, the body of one South Carolina student was found dumped in the fields, after she got into a car she believed was the Uber she’d ordered to get home. The University of South Carolina is seeking to prevent any more similar deaths, by launching the new What’s My Name? ride-sharing safety campaign.
Police have a man in custody in relation to Samantha Josephson’s death. Nathaniel Rowland has been charged with kidnapping and murder, after he picked Josephson up outside a local bar in his black Chevrolet Impala, murdered her and dumped her body. She believed his car was the Uber she’d ordered, after a night out with her friends.

Her mistake could have easily been avoided and her life spared. That’s why University of South Carolina President Harris Pastides believes that, in addition to the Uber community guidelines, the new campaign could work to reduce the number of incidents that result in tragedies. All riders have to do is ask their drivers a simple question to see if their car is the Uber ordered: “What’s my name?”

“We want every college student in America to take a pledge that says they will never get into a rideshare without first asking the driver, ‘What's my name,’ to make sure that they are getting in the right vehicle,” Pastides said, as cited by NBC News.

“This is really a national problem. We thought we had a safe city here and a safe campus, but this might happen again this weekend if a student gets into one of those vehicles and hasn't fully confirmed that it's the right vehicle,” Pastides added. “I think we can save lives. I think we owe it to the college population in the U.S. because this will happen again if we don't follow safety precautions.”

Other precautions riders can take include waiting for their Uber inside and not outdoors, sharing the details of their ride with a friend if they travel alone, and sitting in the back, so as to be able to exit safely. First and foremost, riders should check to see if the make of the car and the face of the driver correspond to the description in the app.
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About the author: Elena Gorgan
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Elena has been writing for a living since 2006 and, as a journalist, she has put her double major in English and Spanish to good use. She covers automotive and mobility topics like cars and bicycles, and she always knows the shows worth watching on Netflix and friends.
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