Scammers are targeting EZ Pass users, claiming they owe tolls

E-ZPass scams are rising, targeting motorists with fake unpaid toll messages - UnSplash

The FBI offers advice for protecting yourself

The job of toll booth operators is fast disappearing, replaced by E-ZPass and other electronic monitoring. As motorists without E-ZPass pass through the toll booth, their license plates are photographed and they will get a bill in the mail.

It’s convenient, but scammers have exploited this system and are raking in a lot of cash from unsuspecting victims.

Most recently, the Massachusetts Department of Transportation warned motorists that scammers are sending text messages that say the recipient’s E-ZPass had expired and they owed a small charge.

Recipients are told to click on a link or call a toll-free number to resolve the issue. The message appears to come from EZDriveMA but the state agency says it’s a scam – one that appears to be growing across the U.S.

Florida’s crackdown

Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody says the fake tool scam is a growing problem in the Sunshine State and has launched an initiative to combat it by warning motorists to be skeptical of texts demanding payments.

“Cybercriminals are sending text messages to thousands of unsuspecting drivers in the hopes that some of them will be tricked into paying a toll fee for a violation that never occurred,” Moody said at a press conference in early May. “While this smishing scam is happening across the nation, our Cyber Fraud Enforcement Unit worked closely with FDLE to shut down 10 fraudulent sites designed to mimic the official SunPass website and steal payments from drivers who received their fake text messages.”

Because it’s a national problem, the FBI has stepped in. In early April it reported that its investigation had revealed that since early March, the FBI Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) had received over 2,000 complaints reporting smishing texts representing road toll collection service from at least three states. IC3 complaint information indicates the scam may be moving from state to state.

What to do

If you receive one of these messages, here’s what the FBI says you should do:

  1. File a complaint with the IC3,, be sure to include:

    1. The phone number from where the text originated.

    2. The website listed within the text

  2. Check your account using the toll service's legitimate website.

  3. Contact the toll service's customer service phone number.

  4. Delete any smishing texts received.

  5. If you clicked any link or provided your information, make efforts to secure your personal information and financial accounts. Dispute any unfamiliar charges.

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