CAMBRIDGE (CBS) – Authorities say they have “no knowledge” of a human trafficking ring being operated out of Cambridge by ride-share drivers, despite a viral text message claiming a connection to the Olivia Ambrose investigation.
Cambridge police took to Facebook on Thursday to acknowledge a message in circulation that claims investigators believe the Ambrose case is connected to a human trafficking plot involving Uber drivers.
The message says Uber drivers are offering women water or candy as a way to drug them “and then pass them off to other people.” It also says investigators are warning women not to use Uber alone or at night.
Authorities have not made references to Uber or any ride-sharing services in their statements on the Ambrose case. Victor Pena was arrested and charged in the 23-year-old’s kidnapping after police released surveillance images from an MBTA station.
“As we have communicated to those who have inquired with us, the Cambridge Police Department has no knowledge of any such information or investigation and the information does not appear to have any validity,” Cambridge police wrote about the supposed trafficking ring. “If anyone has any questions or concerns about any particular public safety matters, we strongly encourage them to contact us directly for any relevant information.”
Police did offer the following tips for safe ride-sharing below:
1. If possible, request your ride inside and wait indoors until your driver arrives.
2. Check the license plate, driver photo, and driver name to make sure it matches the app before getting in the car.
3. Ask the rideshare driver who they are picking up. Make the driver say your name first.
4. Don’t take a different ride than the one you selected in the app – even if the driver offers a lower rate.
5. If you’re riding alone, sit in the backseat. You and your driver will have more personal space, and you have an exit if necessary.
6. Share your trip details with family or a friend by tapping “Share status.” They can track your route to make sure you arrive safely.
7. Don’t share your personal contact information with your rideshare driver. All communication should be through the app.
8. If you feel unsafe, trust your gut and call 911.