The Los Angeles Uber Eats Phantom Strikes Again

LA residents are being sent more mysterious food deliveries. They just want it to stop.

Back in March, a spate of mysterious Uber Eats deliveries were plaguing the Highland Park neighborhood of Los Angeles. Residents were receiving dozens of fast food orders for names that didn't reside at the destination addresses, and while this was amusing to some at first—after all, free food!—the situation turned into an absolute headache when the orders wouldn't stop. And while the deliveries eventually calmed down, the Los Angeles Times reports that they're back at full blast again.

As the unwanted grub rolled in, residents had many initial theories as to why it was all happening. One idea was that the orders were testing whether someone was home, setting the stage for a burglary, but none were reported. Some people even suggested the orders were part of a psychology experiment by college students. Now, one theory has come to the forefront, and it doesn't involve a fast food fairy who wants to gift everyone free fries.

Why are Los Angeles residents receiving mysterious food deliveries?

The prevailing theory, per the Los Angeles Times, is that information thieves are testing out whether stolen credit card numbers they've acquired are linked to active accounts. If charges go through and a test Uber Eats order is successfully delivered, that means the credit card information hasn't been reported as stolen yet. This would explain why the mystery orders are often as small as a bottle of water or a side of gravy—they just have to be big enough to hit the delivery minimum, nothing big enough to get noticed quickly.

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When asked about the theory by the Times Uber acknowledged that this was a possibility and stated that the company is investigating the issue internally. Uber did not elaborate on how it was responding to the issue or how and why the accounts involved were continuing to operate. It wanted to keep its internal processes private so that the offenders wouldn't get any key insight as to what the company is doing to stop them.

Even though in the scheme of things having perfectly good food dumped on your doorstep doesn't seem like the worst thing ever, it sure has to be irritating when it becomes a pattern. There are only so many coffees you can drink or nuggets you can eat (or throw away) in a week. Not to mention the time and fuel it takes the delivery drivers to drop off the stuff—no matter what's at play here, we sure hope those gig workers are getting tipped.

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