Instacart shoppers say their accounts were wrongly deactivated
Gig workers’ vulnerabilities go beyond inconsistent pay
Some Instacart shoppers claim that the company has wrongfully terminated their accounts in response to fraudulent activity, locking them out of future earnings until they get reactivated, CNN Business reports.
The shoppers CNN Business spoke to were identified as having “linked accounts,” which, in Instacart’s terminology, means an account believed to have indicators of fraud, though not necessarily with compromised data connected to a shopper.
THE SHOPPERS MAY BE THE VICTIMS OF PHISHING SCAMS
The company offers a process for appealing deactivations, but at least one of the shoppers CNN Business spoke to, Rachael Freedman, still hasn’t had her account reactivated because her appeal was denied.
Instacart didn’t immediately reply to a request for comment on Friday. The company did tell CNN that “We take the safety and security of the Instacart platform very seriously,” but that “there has not been a breach or hack of the Instacart platform.” The company says it has measures in place for workers who’ve been the victim of a phishing scam to get back into their accounts “in a timely manner.” It’s not clear why that hasn’t applied to Freedman.
The trick that Instacart laborers depicted sounds like an issue Target’s Shipt gig laborers experienced. For Freedman’s situation, she disclosed to CNN she got a call from somebody who professed to work for Instacart, who at that point requested that she read off a check code that was shipped off her record. Not long after she shared her data, she was bolted out. It seems the con artist changed the secret key to her record — once more, basically the same as what Shipt customers portrayed, besides for her situation, Instacart reacted by deactivating Freedman’s record totally.
Instacart cautions shoppers against sharing their information with anyone who identifies themselves as an Instacart employee outside of its official channels, like the app or its 24/7 shopper chat. The pandemic has made grocery delivery a crucial service, but the ease with which workers can have their income affected through no fault of their own illustrates how vulnerable gig workers like Instacart shoppers are. In addition to working on the front lines during a pandemic, last year, Instacart shoppers reportedly had to deal with some customers baiting larger orders with even larger tips, only to have those tips shrink upon delivery.
Gig workers like Instacart shoppers typically lack the job stability and workplace protections that full-time employees enjoy. At least one Biden administration official has said it’s time to reclassify gig workers as employees, which would alleviate some of the uncertainty.