The I-Team first investigated an unpaid toll email scam in the summer of 2014, and the North Carolina Department of Transportation says drivers still need to watch out for it.
The homepage of the NC Quikpass website warns Triangle residents about the scam. The website reads:
- "We would like to make our customers aware that there are fraudulent emails being sent to residents in several states, including NC, stating that they must pay an outstanding toll balance. These emails are coming from different email addresses, but most have E-Z Pass Customer Service Center across the top of the statement. These emails include a link directing customers to an invoice or payment portal. Please note that NC Quick Pass DOES NOT request payment via email. Quickpass account-holders should verify the authenticity of any sender before clicking on a link."
Victims report receiving an email telling them to pay an unpaid toll by clicking a link to download their invoice. Steve Abbott from the NCDOT says not to fall for it.
"We do not contact out of Quikpass anybody by email saying you owe money," Abbott explained. "For the most part, we don't even have customers' email addresses. So if you get something like that, delete it."
NC Quikpass operates the Triangle Expressway's toll collections and has a parnership with the EZ Pass group. So do 26 other toll agencies in 16 states, and drivers from different states are reporting getting these emails.
"Scammers get 10-100,000 email addresses, flood them out with that same message and 99 percent of those people may have never ever been on a toll road. But the few that do and the few of those that pay, that's how [scammers] make their money," Abbott said.
If you drive on the Triangle Expressway, you can pay with a transponder on your vehicle that bills you automatically. Or, cameras will snap pictures of your license plate and you'll get a bill in the mail. You won't get an email, or even a phone call.
The FBI is investigating this scam. Consumers should report forward the entire email to the Federal Trade Commission at email@example.com. North Carolina consumers are also welcome to file a consumer complaint with the AG's office at www.ncdoj.gov or 1-877-5-NO-SCAM (toll free from an NC number).
Anyone who fell for one of the phishing emails, and provided a bank account or credit card number, should contact their bank or credit card company immediately and also report it to http://www.ic3.gov/default.aspx.