BBB SCAM ALERT: Scammers impersonating road toll collection services in texts

Published 8:47 am Thursday, April 25, 2024

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The following is from the Better Business Bureau:

If you have been on a road trip, then you’re probably familiar with modern tolling systems allowing you to pay your toll fees online. If you anticipate paying for any outstanding tolls, watch out for this text message phishing scam where fraudsters impersonate toll collection services, trying to trick consumers into paying for fake outstanding tolls.

How the scam works

You receive a text message from what appears to be a state tollway collection service, like the Illinois Tollway or the Florida Turnpike. The text message says you owe a road toll fee of around $12, but you need to pay it immediately to avoid a late fee of $50.

The message includes a link to settle your balance, which appears to be from the state’s toll service, making the message look legitimate. However, if you click the link and provide your personal and payment information on the website, scammers could now have access to that information, and you may have lost some money.
BBB Scam Tracker has received reports of text messages that appear to be from toll collection services.

One consumer recently shared, “I received a text message that stated I owed funds from using a tollway. It was not specific and since I do not use a tollway I knew it was a fraud. I deleted the message right away and blocked the number, but I believe it had included a web link.”

Another consumer shared, “I was sent a text message that I owe the Florida Turnpike fee of $12.51 or face a late fee of $50. I nor my husband have been anywhere near the Florida Turnpike.”

How to avoid text message phishing scams

● Verify your outstanding toll balance with the legitimate agency. Instead of clicking on the link in the text message, go to your web browser, find the toll service’s actual website, and log in to your account to verify if you have any outstanding toll payments. Another way to verify this is by calling the toll service’s customer service line. Do not call the phone number that texted you or any phone numbers included in the text message.

● Know the warning signs of a fake text. If you receive an unusual text message, there are several things to look for to help you identify if it’s fake. Read BBB’s tips on spotting the red flags of fake text messages.

● Don’t click on links or download files that are unexpectedly texted to you. It may be hard to identify if a link sent in a text message is safe. Scammers can disguise a URL to appear legitimate when it isn’t.

● Block the number and delete the message. Do not engage with the scammer if you think you received a fake text message. Instead, block the phone number and delete the text message.

● If you receive a text message impersonating a road toll collection service, report it. You can file a report with BBB Scam Tracker to help warn others about this new scam.