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That text message about your unpaid tolls may be a scam

The FBI is warning people receiving texts about unpaid tolls not to click any links and instead check their state's legitimate toll service website.
That text message about your unpaid tolls may be a scam
Posted at 12:08 PM, Apr 16, 2024

Even if you have outstanding fees, that text message about unpaid tolls may be a scam. 

The FBI issued a public service announcement warning people to be careful handling those messages. 

Since just last month, the FBI said its Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) has received almost 2,000 complaints about smishing texts representing road toll collection services from at least three states. “Smishing” is a fake message that tricks people into clicking links to download malware, share sensitive information, or send money to criminals. 

The texts circulating claim recipients owe a specific balance and are prompted to click a link to pay and avoid a late fee. 

The FBI said the texts received are almost identical in language, with similar payment amounts, and appear as such: “(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.”

The phone numbers the texts are sent from vary by state.

The FBI urges anyone who has clicked a link from such a text to secure their personal information and financial accounts, and dispute any unknown charges.

Text recipients should check their account from their state’s legitimate toll service website or customer service phone number. They should delete any smishing texts received.

“Rule of thumb, do not click on anything. Every time you receive something that seems from an official organization, try to find ... the phone number. Try to call these people or go to a computer that you trust, get onto the website of the organization and find out if you actually have issues with them,” said Edgar Maldonado, an associate professor in the Department of Computer Information Systems at Metropolitan State University of Denver.

The FBI said people who have received a scam text should file a complaint with the IC3 and include the number the text was sent from and the website listed in the text. 

@scrippsnews Have you received a text like this recently? The FBI is warning of an influx of unpaid toll text scam messages. Here’s what to watch out for and how to report them. #TextScam #scammeralert #scam ♬ original sound - Scripps News

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