The Black Market for Accounts, Rappi's New Threat?By Andrea Villar | Thu, 09/24/2020 - 17:40
Rappi is growing by leaps and bounds in Latin America, particularly in its home country of Colombia. At the same time, however, a market has grown, which is driven by the lack of work for its delivery staff. Since March, urban unemployment in Colombia jumped to almost 25 percent in July, from just over 13 percent due to the pandemic and lockdowns. This has made work as a "rappitendero" highly sought after. According to a Reuters report, the company's fake profiles sell for US$160 each, even on social networking platforms such as Facebook.
In response, Rappi told Reuters that "any illegal market for accounts is rejected outright by the brand". The food delivery company stated that it has a dedicated fraud team that monitors illegal activities and is building a tool together with the police to verify workers' accounts in real-time. "For Rappi's ecosystem, security is a key element. That is why we are continuously monitoring and applying the security protocols, both in the platform of the Rappitenderos SoyRappi, as well as in the application, in order to guarantee and be able to act against unusual and criminal activity," said Pablo Heredia, director of operations at Rappi Mexico, in another statement.
Among the measures the company lists to avoid false profiles are optical and facial recognition mechanisms, as well as criminal background checks on national and international data bases. In Mexico, the registration process begins with a valid official identification, such as INE or FM3, followed by a photo for biometric registration, according to the company. After verifying the identity and background, the applicant may register as a rappeller. "From then on, every time he or she logs on and before delivering any order, two selfies must be taken which we compare with the one taken at the time of registration", the company reports.
Reuters spoke to more than a dozen delivery agents in Colombia, where latest figures show more than 50,000. These delivery workers say there is a strong trade in accounts. All of the deliverers, many of whom are Venezuelan migrants, said that the black market was fueled by Rappi's cancellations of their profiles and that people now pay to be able to work.
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