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Convicted Murderer Drives for Uber: Is ‘Misidentification’ Risk Heightened in a World of Platforms and Independent Workers?


While the use of work intermediation platforms (WIPs) and independent workers may be starting to look attractive even to procurement practitioners, there are risks. The most well-known and recently publicized of these is the risk of “misclassification.” However, a lesser-known and potentially greater risk may be “misidentification” risk – being mistaken about who a person actually is and what their real background is.

This risk of misidentification was highlighted in a recent report that an Uber driver in Los Angeles was actually a convicted murderer. In this case, the convict used a fake identity to pass the company’s background check, which in most cases is performed by one of a multitude of third-party providers. However, the failure to validate the identity of the person in the first place reveals the potentially fatal breakdown in the identity verification process.

But this article isn’t about just Uber. Hundreds of such cases for employees and contractors likely occur every year without all the media scrutiny. Still, the number of occurrences could certainly be reduced through better focus, rigor and technology, such as electronic fingerprints.

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