Fact Check

SCAM: E-ZPass Bill Overdue Notice

E-mail phishing scam poses as overdue notifications for E-Z Pass bills.

Published Jul 10, 2014

Phishing bait:   E-mailed messages pose as overdue notifications for E-ZPass bills.


Example:   [Collected via e-mail, July 2014]

Just got word from my dad of a virus that I didn't see listed on your site:


Judy got an e-mail with the subject line saying "Payment for driving on a toll road." She forwarded it to me. The message said something like "You are overdue for paying your E-Z Pass bill. Click here to download your invoice." I should have known better than to do it, but I did. It downloaded an "exe" file to my computer. Like a damn fool, I actually told my computer to open it. I got a warning message saying "The publisher cannot be verified. Are you sure you want to open this file?"

At that point, I realized that I had narrowly escaped infecting my computer with some kind of malware — virus, identity theft, or something of that type. I permanently deleted the exe file and any e-mail messages containing the link to it.


Origins:   In July 2014 Internet users were spammed with emails appearing to originate with the E-ZPass Service Center (an electronic toll-collection system used on most tolled roads, tunnels, and bridges in the eastern half of the United States) with subject lines such as "In arrears for driving on toll road." The text of such messages informed recipients that "You have not paid for driving on a toll road" and invited them to click on a link to download an invoice and "service your debt in the shortest possible time."

These messages were not legitimate; they were part of a phishing scheme intended to lure recipients into clicking links or opening attachments and downloading malware onto their computers. The New York State Thruway Authority has posted a warning on its site advising customers that the messages are not authorized communications from E-ZPass, the New York State Thruway Authority, or any other toll collection agency and should not be opened or responded to:

The New York State Thruway Authority is warning motorists about a scam involving fake e-mails.

The authority says it recently learned of an email phishing scam which appears to be an attempt to collect unpaid tolls.

An example of the email is as follows: "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 authority is warning that this is not an authorized communication from E-ZPass, the New York State Thruway Authority or any other toll agency associated with E-ZPass.

People are advised not to open or respond to such a message. The safest thing to do is to delete the email.

The E-ZPass Service Center does not send out email invoices for payment. If you owe money for using E-ZPass on a toll facility, the E-ZPass service center will send an invoice through the US Postal Service for payment.

If you have any questions about the validity of any message received from E-ZPass, contact the E-ZPass New York Customer Service Center at 800-333-8655.

Last updated:   10 July 2014

David Mikkelson founded the site now known as snopes.com back in 1994.