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VDOT warns Virginians of smishing texts, a scam affecting Americans in other states

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The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) encourages Virginians to be on alert for a text message scam, also known as smishing, that is sending requests for payment of outstanding toll charges.

The FBI recently issued a warning about the scam, which has occurred in various states and does not specifically target E-ZPass customers.

Since March 2024, Americans have submitted complaints to the FBI about receiving text messages representing toll road collection services claiming they owe money for unpaid tolls. The link in the text message is created to impersonate a toll facility’s or collection service’s name, and phone numbers appear to change between states. By clicking the link, drivers could risk giving away sensitive data, including credit card information.

To date, VDOT is not aware of Virginia residents receiving smishing messages, but if anyone receives an unsolicited text message suggesting it is from E-ZPass Virginia or a specific toll facility in Virginia, they should not click on the link.

If Virginians receive text messages, they should reach out directly to the appropriate facility to verify authenticity. E-ZPass account holders and toll customers can check their accounts and pay tolls by going to the Toll Roads in Virginia website and E-ZPass website. Virginians may also contact customer service representatives for the appropriate facility to validate their toll balance along with upcoming or past due payments.

Anyone who believes they received a smishing text about tolls due can file a complaint with the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center at www.ic3.gov and include the phone number of the text message as well as the web link listed within the text.

Rebecca Barnabi

Rebecca Barnabi

Rebecca J. Barnabi is the national editor of Augusta Free Press. A graduate of the University of Mary Washington, she began her journalism career at The Fredericksburg Free-Lance Star. In 2013, she was awarded first place for feature writing in the Maryland, Delaware, District of Columbia Awards Program, and was honored by the Virginia School Boards Association’s 2019 Media Honor Roll Program for her coverage of Waynesboro Schools. Her background in newspapers includes writing about features, local government, education and the arts.