Beware toll road text-message collections scam: FBI

The Federal Bureau of Investigation issued a public service announcement regarding complaints reporting scam text messages from what appear to be toll road collection services.

Since early March, the FBI Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) has received more than 2,000 complaints reporting so-called smishing texts representing a road toll collection service from at least three states. Smishing is a social engineering attack using fake text messages to trick people into downloading malware, sharing sensitive information or sending money to cybercriminals.

IC3 complaint information indicates the scam may be moving from state to state.

The texts claim the recipient owes money for unpaid tolls and contain almost identical language. The "outstanding toll amount" is similar among the complaints reported to the IC3. However, the link provided within the text is created to impersonate the state's toll service name, and phone numbers appear to change between states. These smishing texts look something like this:

(State Toll Service Name): We've noticed an outstanding toll amount of $12.51 on your record. To avoid a late fee of $50.00, visit to settle your balance.

If you receive one of these texts, the FBI suggests taking the following steps:

  1. File a complaint with the IC3, Be sure to include the phone number from where the text originated and 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, take efforts to secure your personal information and financial accounts. Dispute any unfamiliar charges.

[Related: Threat ongoing: Fake safety audit scam]

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