Quick Bit: The Feds have received thousands of complaints about phishing texts from fake road toll collection services

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The FBI has warned of a prolific new smishing campaign using road toll collection as a pretext to trick victims into handing over their personal information and money.

A new Public Service Announcement (PSA) claimed that the campaign has been ongoing since March 2024 and has been spotted in at least three states. There’s apparently evidence to suggest the scam is 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,” the PSA noted. “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.”

The PSA did not reveal the specific state toll services that had been abused by the scammers.

Read more on smishing: Smishing Triad: China-Based Fraud Network Exposed

According to the FBI, the phishing text looks 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 https://myturnpiketollservices.com to settle your balance.”

Anyone receiving such a message is urged to report it to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3), mentioning the phone number used to send the text and the website listed within it.

The FBI also recommended anyone receiving similar messages to check their account on the legitimate toll service’s website or call its customer service number, to see if they do indeed owe money or not.

Once they’ve reported it, recipients are encouraged to delete the smishing text and – if they have clicked through and provided personal info – to “take efforts to secure your personal information and financial accounts.”

They should also keep an eye on any unfamiliar bank charges, it warned.

A report from Lookout in March 2023 claimed the previous year had seen a record number of mobile phishing attacks, with roughly half of mobile phone owners worldwide exposed to an attack every quarter.

Image credit: Khairil Azhar Junos / Shutterstock.com

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