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Scammed by a GoJek driver

Just to explain, I am a 32-year-old, British expat, teaching Elementary at an international school in Jakarta and I have been here for around 10 months.

On Sunday I decided to order some food from Eastern Promise as a treat to myself after a hard weeks work. I ordered my food through GoFood and waited for the driver to collect the items from the restaurant. Within around 5 minutes I discovered that the driver had confirmed that he had already delivered the food to my address and that the money had been taken from my GoPay account. On realizing this I called GoJek customer service to report the problem, they swiftly looked into it, apologised and advised me that I would receive a refund within 24 hours. I then assumed that this was the end of the story.

Around 20 minutes later I received a phone call from a random number, unfortunately, my Bahasa is lacking and all I could understand was “GoJek” and “code”. Around the time of the phone call, I received a code to my phone which I assumed was to verify my identity before he could process my refund. But what I did not realize was that this code was to change the password on my account so he could access it from his own device. The long tiring week, combined with my lack of the language and also the fact he was acting so intense, barely even taking a breath, made it difficult for me to digest what the text had fully said (DO NOT GIVE HIS CODE TO ANYONE (EVEN GOJEK)). However, the message did not specify it is for changing a password and so without realizing it I had given him full access to my account. He then continued to distract me whilst somebody was draining my account credit (around 550000rp total) he continued to ask me for my debit card number. At this point, I had enlisted the help of my buildings reception staff. The staff member gave him the long card number and only when he had asked for the three-digit number on the back did we all realize it was a scam. I also started to receive messages from my bank with a security code for random amounts of 10,000rp and then 500,000rp. At this point, I had hung up but he continued to keep calling for some time and from a variety of different phone numbers.

I promptly called my bank and cancelled my card so that this would no longer be an issue. I then contacted GoJek to advise them of what had happened; they told me that they would put a block on my account and change my number back within 24 hours. I assumed this was going to be the end of the whole awful affair, but in fact there was more bad news to come.

The next morning I gained access to my GoJek account and discovered that at around 1am (4 hours after I had been advised my account had had a block put on it) that the original money for my undelivered food had been refunded to my account, it then showed 5 minutes later that the scammer had removed most of the money once again into his Pulsa account. So to add insult to injury not only had he stolen my previous balance, but he had then managed to steal the refund from my account 4 hours after it had been supposedly blocked by the staff at GoJek.

I contacted GoJek once again today (Tuesday) to ask them if I could at least be refunded for the money that had been taken hours after the block had supposedly been put in place and they advised me they would send it to their refunds team but that they could not promise I would be refunded back for this amount. I also asked them what would happen to the driver and the woman I spoke to advised me that he would be suspended and if he did it again he would then be fired. I asked her if they planned to report the incident to the police but she told me that this was out of her team’s control. (No doubt because involving the police would involve large amounts of money). Along with this they never asked me for any more information such as the scammers phone numbers or for anything I remembered that might be important in an investigation. They infact appeared to be acting as if this was a normal everyday occurance. I remember the advisor seeming quite unphased by what I had told him (I spoke to different people each time).  Saying to me “sorry to hear this sir, anyway is there anything else I can help you with today?”

So I have come to the conclusion after speaking to many friends about my experience that this is an extremely common occurrence with the GoJek app and everyone I speak to seems to have either experienced this themselves or knows a friend whom this has happened to also. To make matters worse GoJek will, A. Not be passing on this information to the police and B. Only give the driver a warning for blatantly stealing from a customer.

I feel that GoJek has a huge problem on their hands that they do not appear to be dealing with in an adequate or timely fashion. Surely by simply suspending and/or warning their staff they are inviting their employees to steal from their customers? I have lost so much faith in a company that I originally loved so much when I first arrived in Indonesia 10 months ago. And I also feel that your readers deserve to be aware of my experience in the hope that they will not have to go through such a nasty, invasive and humiliating experience such as this. And also perhaps GoJek can do more to avoid such scamming in the future (such as inserting into the message that the code is specifically for changing the password on an account).

Note – the views expressed in this letter belong solely to the writer. We have asked GoJek for a response and will publish any received.

Image: Omjek.org

Update – September 4

To follow on from yesterday, later on Tuesday I received another email rejecting my claims to be compensated for the final amount that had been taken 4 hours after GoJek had told me my account had been blocked. I was not prepared to accept this so I called them again and asked for the Escalation Team, who had emailed me with the response, to contact me directly. It seems that GoJek has a seperate team that receives calls and another that deals with refunds and blocking, etc.

This morning I was finally contacted by the team that handles refunds and I informed them once again that I was not happy with the conclusion and that I wasn’t looking to be refunded for all the money but simply for the final 150,000rp that had been taken 4 hours after I had contacted them about the scammer. I also told them that they ought to block accounts immediately, just as a bank would do if somebody’s card details had been stolen. Afterall many people use GoPay every day and it is increasingly becoming a digital wallet for more and more people in Indonesia. Finally, I advised them that they also could consider to change the Password Change Code to something more specific, for example: (Here is your code to access your account on a new device, if you did not request for this to happen please contact GoJek immediately.) As it currently exists the message appears like this:

<#> DON’T SHARE THIS WITH ANYONE (NOT EVEN GOJEK). Your SECRET VERIFICATION CODE for account LOGIN: 1234. Detail: gojek.com/safety 4PKeZqV9ubl

Which in my opinion, as a native speaker is a little vague and I think scammers take advantage of this by sending the code to your phone as you answer the call from them. Then whilst you are digesting the information they quickly demand you give them your login code.

He then advised me he would investigate and call me back later.

Finally, I received a call back around 2pm today with some good news, they have finally refunded me for the final transaction of 150,000rp and promised to send my feedback to the management at GoJek. They also were aware of my news story in IndonesiaExpat so power to the people! The advisor said that he was very appreciative of the feedback I had given and that his company would do more to protect their customers’ money and data in the future. One thing I should mention is that I never got an explanation as to why it took them more than 4 hours to block my account after I had contact them. So it seems that we have a mixture of good and bad news regarding my experience. I honestly hope that by raising awareness to both customers and GoJek staff that this scam can start to be a thing of the past.

P.S The more I thought about the experience the more I started to figure out what exactly had happened. I kept asking myself why would they spend 550,000rp on Pulsa (Phone Credit)? Then it hit me, they have used my money to scam more people!  Along with this GoJek did not promise to terminate the drivers contract or report his behaviour to the police. They also never attempted to ask me for any of his phone numbers or imply that they planned to investigate their drivers misconduct further. Which leads me on to my main point: GoJek needs to do more to stop scammers from stealing their customers money!

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