DoorDash workers got phished. They say DoorDash refused to help.

The phishing scam resulted in one worker losing nearly $900. DoorDash reimbursed these workers only after Protocol reached out.


DoorDash workers say the company was initially unhelpful in resolving their issues.

Photographer: Gabby Jones/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Sherrie Vidaurri first started delivering for DoorDash in March, and she loved it. The work paid at least $100 per day. In her first week on the job, Vidaurri made a little under $1,000.

"I loved it because I could work when I wanted and didn't have to work when I didn't want to," she told Protocol. "I was really happy. I mean, I couldn't believe I got paid to do what I was doing."

Vidaurri's feelings started to change the week of May 9, when she fell victim to a phishing scam that resulted in the loss of nearly $900. What made matters worse was her experience trying to resolve the issue with DoorDash: Vidaurri and another Dasher did not receive compensation for their stolen wages until they and the Gig Workers Collective reached out to Protocol.

"I am so shocked and thankful," Vidaurri told Protocol when she received an email about her recovered wages in her inbox. She added, "They had to be shamed into doing the right thing."

A phishy link

Phishing scams affected 241,342 people last year, making it the top cybercrime in 2020, according to the FBI's internet crime report. The scams resulted in a collective loss of about $54 million. Meanwhile, 61% of Americans could not identify a fraudulent website, according to a 2019 survey.

The scam works like this: DoorDash workers receive an order that they begin to fulfill. The Dasher then receives a phone call from someone pretending to be a DoorDash support representative, saying the order has been canceled. But because DoorDash hasn't actually canceled the order, the Dasher is unable to get it off their screen. That's when the scammer offers to send the Dasher a link. Upon clicking the link, the Dasher gets logged out of their account and then has to enter their username and password.

The scammer who called Vidaurri also told her about a bogus delivery "challenge" that would give her a $200 bonus. She completed the required number of deliveries the scammer told her to, but never received her bonus. That's when she called DoorDash's support team, only to find the support agent had no idea what she was talking about.

That night, the scammer called Vidaurri again to let her know she had successfully completed the challenge. All she had to do was "confirm" some information and then they would send her a Visa gift card in the mail.

"That kind of raised my suspicion a little bit, but not to the level of there's a problem," Vidaurri said. "And that code he sent me and what I read back to him gave him the last piece of what he needed to change my banking information inside my DoorDash app."

Vidaurri realized something was wrong a couple of days later when she went back to work. She couldn't seem to contact her customer, so she called the support team again, thinking there might be something wrong with the technology DoorDash uses to connect customers with delivery drivers. The support representative asked Vidaurri to confirm some information, but none of it matched what was on her file — because the scammers had gone into her account and changed all her information.

Unfortunately, the support agent was unable to help. "She couldn't do anything for me other than escalate the situation and put it up the chain," Vidaurri said.

Vidaurri started asking questions about how the scam would affect her and her standing in the DoorDash community. But the representative grew irritated with her, she said: "I really tried not to be rude, but I'm sure I came off poorly, because she hung up on me."

Vidaurri called back. This time, she spoke with a different representative who confirmed for her that the scammer successfully withdrew money from her DoorDash account and deposited it into their bank account. The representative explained that it was too late for DoorDash to cancel the payment and retrieve it, but that the company would get back to her within 48 hours. DoorDash never got back to her, she said.

DoorDash did email Vidaurri about suspicious attempts to log in to her account, in the days leading up to when the scammer changed her bank account information. Unfortunately, Vidaurri didn't see those emails immediately and by the time she did, DoorDash had already inadvertently paid the scammers.

"The last time I spoke to anybody, I was basically told that, on their end, the situation is solved," she said. "And that on their end, they're done."

'There is nothing more we can do to salvage these stolen funds'

Dasher Shelly Roofe caught the scammers midway through the process when they tried a similar tactic on her. She successfully reset her DoorDash password and corrected her banking information before the platform distributed the payment, but DoorDash never paid her the $246 she legitimately earned that week, she told Protocol. Similar to Vidaurri, Roofe only received money — $185.14 of it — after we reached out.

DoorDash told Roofe they first needed to conduct an investigation, which could take up to 11 days. Eleven days and then some went by without her money.

In an email to Roofe on May 31, DoorDash acknowledged how frustrating it must be for her, saying the company "understand[s] how hard [she] worked on the DoorDash platform for these earnings."

The support representative went on to blame her, Roofe said.

"Unfortunately, by sharing your password and/or your security code, you gave someone else access to your account and to your money — it's just like giving out the PIN to your ATM card or debit card," the representative wrote in the email seen by Protocol. "For your security and protection, we do not keep your bank account information in our own records. That information lives in your Dasher app and is accessed by our third party payments vendor in order to pay you. When we received your inquiry, we contacted our payments vendor and had them attempt to reverse the transfer of funds. Unfortunately, they were unable to recover your payment. At this point, there is nothing more we can do to salvage these stolen funds."

Roofe felt frustrated by that response because she had already updated her account before payday, she said. Roofe maintains that the scammers didn't take her money — DoorDash withheld it.

"DoorDash takes the trust of our community very seriously, and we're committed to the security of those we serve," a DoorDash spokesperson told Protocol. "We have addressed the fraudulent activity and resolved the issue for both Dashers involved, and appreciate their patience as we ensured proper payment into the correct accounts."

A 'one-time courtesy' reimbursement

DoorDash says it has a policy to reimburse Dashers who have experienced and reported fraud. If workers do experience fraud, DoorDash says they should contact customer support to help resolve the issue. That's why it felt odd to Vidaurri that she received little to no support from DoorDash during this whole process.

DoorDash's email to Vidaurri, viewed by Protocol, specified that "this repayment is a one-time courtesy." It also said DoorDash has the right "not to provide this courtesy if we determine that you have jeopardized the security of your account by sharing your confidential information."

Both Roofe and Vidaurri are relieved to have gotten their money back, but feel frustrated with DoorDash for not doing more to support them and to warn other Dashers of the scam.

It's unclear how many workers the scam has affected. DoorDash said these were one-off incidents and that these types of phishing scams are not a prevalent issue on the DoorDash platform. But on a Reddit thread, a handful of other people reported experiencing similar issues in the past month.

Whether or not it's prevalent, Vidaurri would have liked for DoorDash to have notified her and other Dashers about the scam, just as DoorDash has sent notifications to Dashers warning them not to leave their cars running while they run inside to pick up food due to the potential for vehicle theft. DoorDash could also provide an onboarding process for Dashers in which it explains the ways it will or won't contact Dashers and the type of information they'll never request from Dashers, she added.

"They knew this was happening because they'd been getting a ton of phone calls from people already for two days," Vidaurri said. "When I called support, the gal immediately knew what was going on."

Roofe similarly feels frustrated in DoorDash's handling of the scam, especially given that it happened to Vidaurri two weeks before it happened to her.

"I feel violated because they never informed us there was a problem and they apparently have known about this for a while," Roofe said. "They knew but never said anything about it. They never warned us."


Why foundation models in AI need to be released responsibly

Foundation models like GPT-3 and DALL-E are changing AI forever. We urgently need to develop community norms that guarantee research access and help guide the future of AI responsibly.

Releasing new foundation models doesn’t have to be an all or nothing proposition.

Illustration: sorbetto/DigitalVision Vectors

Percy Liang is director of the Center for Research on Foundation Models, a faculty affiliate at the Stanford Institute for Human-Centered AI and an associate professor of Computer Science at Stanford University.

Humans are not very good at forecasting the future, especially when it comes to technology.

Keep Reading Show less
Percy Liang
Percy Liang is Director of the Center for Research on Foundation Models, a Faculty Affiliate at the Stanford Institute for Human-Centered AI, and an Associate Professor of Computer Science at Stanford University.

Every day, millions of us press the “order” button on our favorite coffee store's mobile application: Our chosen brew will be on the counter when we arrive. It’s a personalized, seamless experience that we have all come to expect. What we don’t know is what’s happening behind the scenes. The mobile application is sourcing data from a database that stores information about each customer and what their favorite coffee drinks are. It is also leveraging event-streaming data in real time to ensure the ingredients for your personal coffee are in supply at your local store.

Applications like this power our daily lives, and if they can’t access massive amounts of data stored in a database as well as stream data “in motion” instantaneously, you — and millions of customers — won’t have these in-the-moment experiences.

Keep Reading Show less
Jennifer Goforth Gregory
Jennifer Goforth Gregory has worked in the B2B technology industry for over 20 years. As a freelance writer she writes for top technology brands, including IBM, HPE, Adobe, AT&T, Verizon, Epson, Oracle, Intel and Square. She specializes in a wide range of technology, such as AI, IoT, cloud, cybersecurity, and CX. Jennifer also wrote a bestselling book The Freelance Content Marketing Writer to help other writers launch a high earning freelance business.

The West’s drought could bring about a data center reckoning

When it comes to water use, data centers are the tech industry’s secret water hogs — and they could soon come under increased scrutiny.

Lake Mead, North America's largest artificial reservoir, has dropped to about 1,052 feet above sea level, the lowest it's been since being filled in 1937.

Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

The West is parched, and getting more so by the day. Lake Mead — the country’s largest reservoir — is nearing “dead pool” levels, meaning it may soon be too low to flow downstream. The entirety of the Four Corners plus California is mired in megadrought.

Amid this desiccation, hundreds of the country’s data centers use vast amounts of water to hum along. Dozens cluster around major metro centers, including those with mandatory or voluntary water restrictions in place to curtail residential and agricultural use.

Keep Reading Show less
Lisa Martine Jenkins

Lisa Martine Jenkins is a senior reporter at Protocol covering climate. Lisa previously wrote for Morning Consult, Chemical Watch and the Associated Press. Lisa is currently based in Brooklyn, and is originally from the Bay Area. Find her on Twitter ( @l_m_j_) or reach out via email (ljenkins@protocol.com).


Indeed is hiring 4,000 workers despite industry layoffs

Indeed’s new CPO, Priscilla Koranteng, spoke to Protocol about her first 100 days in the role and the changing nature of HR.

"[Y]ou are serving the people. And everything that's happening around us in the world is … impacting their professional lives."

Image: Protocol

Priscilla Koranteng's plans are ambitious. Koranteng, who was appointed chief people officer of Indeed in June, has already enhanced the company’s abortion travel policies and reinforced its goal to hire 4,000 people in 2022.

She’s joined the HR tech company in a time when many other tech companies are enacting layoffs and cutbacks, but said she sees this precarious time as an opportunity for growth companies to really get ahead. Koranteng, who comes from an HR and diversity VP role at Kellogg, is working on embedding her hybrid set of expertise in her new role at Indeed.

Keep Reading Show less
Amber Burton

Amber Burton (@amberbburton) is a reporter at Protocol. Previously, she covered personal finance and diversity in business at The Wall Street Journal. She earned an M.S. in Strategic Communications from Columbia University and B.A. in English and Journalism from Wake Forest University. She lives in North Carolina.


New Jersey could become an ocean energy hub

A first-in-the-nation bill would support wave and tidal energy as a way to meet the Garden State's climate goals.

Technological challenges mean wave and tidal power remain generally more expensive than their other renewable counterparts. But government support could help spur more innovation that brings down cost.

Photo: Jeremy Bishop via Unsplash

Move over, solar and wind. There’s a new kid on the renewable energy block: waves and tides.

Harnessing the ocean’s power is still in its early stages, but the industry is poised for a big legislative boost, with the potential for real investment down the line.

Keep Reading Show less
Lisa Martine Jenkins

Lisa Martine Jenkins is a senior reporter at Protocol covering climate. Lisa previously wrote for Morning Consult, Chemical Watch and the Associated Press. Lisa is currently based in Brooklyn, and is originally from the Bay Area. Find her on Twitter ( @l_m_j_) or reach out via email (ljenkins@protocol.com).

Latest Stories