“A punch in the gut”: an Instacart worker is lured by a fake pipe


PORTLAND, Oregon (KOIN) – Food and grocery delivery apps have facilitated social distancing, but some Portland delivery people say they are being scammed by app users.

Annaliisa Arambula is a personal shopper for the Instacart app. She told KOIN 6 News that she spends up to 60 hours a week shopping.

Like most delivery apps, Instacart pays for the mileage of a personal buyer, but Arambula said they rely mainly on advice.

Annaliisa Arambula is a personal shopper for Instacart, April 9, 2020. (KOIN)

So a few weeks ago, when a customer needed groceries from a store near Arambula and offered a sizable tip of $ 55, she quickly accepted the job.

“There was really no problem,” said Arambula of the request. “It was a customer’s dream: everything was in stock, everything they wanted was there in the quantities and sizes they wanted. “

But the work was really too good to be true.

Shortly after dropping off the groceries, Arambula checked the app and all of his tip was gone, with a message that “the customer changed the tip after delivery.”

“It was like a punch in the guts,” she recalls. “It was really disconcerting to me that someone could do it, especially knowing the climate we were entering and the risk, because at that time, we knew too much about the virus.”

Arambula is the breadwinner in his house. Her husband has health problems that prevent him from working, which means that she must be extremely careful when she returns from work.

An Instacart buyer in a grocery store. (Instacart)

“I’m trying to get away from them – I’ll put my clothes in a washer and shower before I even have physical contact with my husband or children.”

Arambula said that Instacart promises to provide personal protective items to buyers during the COVID-19 pandemic, but that it received no gloves, no mask, no hand sanitizer. A client recently gave him money and masks.

“I’m taking a big risk and a lot of people say, ‘Well, don’t do it,'” said Arambula. “Well, as a contract worker, I don’t have the same protections as a W2 worker. “

KOIN 6 News has contacted Instacart and is waiting to hear from them.

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