Taking Back the ID

Beware toll-road, Facebook and donation scams

Katie Calvin drove on a toll road every day to work and back. One day she received an email informing her that she hadn't paid a recent toll fee and she had to pay immediately. She couldn't remember ever driving through a tollgate without paying. Good thing she didn't download the invoice and become the latest victim of this phishing scheme.

Fraud taking its toll

This case is fictional but representative of a scam that the Internet Crime Complaints Center (IC3) reported Nov. 3, 2014. IC3 has received hundreds of complaints from across the U.S. about this scheme.

The fraudsters typically take on the identity of E-ZPass, an automated vehicle identification and payment system used by a group of 26 toll agencies in 15 states.

The criminals use the E-ZPass logo in fraudulent but genuine-looking email messages to target those who use and don't use toll roads. A message includes a violation notice claiming the recipient used a toll road but failed to pay the required fee.

The Scambusters.org article, When Toll Roads Become a Highway to a Scam, gives an example of a fraudulent message:

E-ZPass Service Center

Dear customer,

You have not paid for driving on a toll road. This invoice is sent repeatedly, please service your debt in the shortest possible time. The invoice can be downloaded here.

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