FBI Says New SMS Text Grift Alleges Unpaid Toll Road Charges

The FBI has issued a new warning of a phishing scam that’s been targeting Americans using toll roads via SMS.

Called a “smishing” grift (a hacking scam that’s performed using fake SMS text messages), and the FBI said that it has received over 2,000 complaints across three different states from people alleging they were contacted through text messages and told they had unpaid toll fees.

The FBI estimates that the scheme has been active since early March.

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“(State Toll Service Name): We’ve noticed an outstanding toll amount of $12.51 on your record,” one example of the fake message reads. “To avoid a late fee of $50.00, visit https://myturnpiketollservices.com to settle your balance.”

“Smishing,” which is a combination of the words “phishing” and “SMS,” involves using fake links to trick victims into “downloading malware, sharing sensitive information, or sending money to cybercriminals.”

The FBI said the messages come from numbers from all different states but did not specify the three states that have been affected so far.

However, the Pennsylvania State Police issued a warning to residents and visitors earlier this month, making it clear it was one of the states affected.

“On Sunday afternoon, the PA Turnpike was advised of a smishing scam that is targeting Pennsylvania residents with text messages requesting personal financial information to settle outstanding toll amounts,” the organization warned. “Similar scams have been reported by toll agencies across the country over the past several days.”

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Those who think they’ve been affected by the scheme are encouraged to file a complaint online with the IC3 and include the phone number that the fake message came from, as well as the link used in the message.

Victims should also delete any “smishing” texts that they received and check their actual toll balance by using their toll service’s legitimate website or calling their customer service.

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