Chicago/ Crime & Emergencies
AI Assisted Icon
Published on April 10, 2024
Illinois Tollway Warns of Text Message Phishing Scam Targeting I-Pass UsersSource: Unsplash/DuoNguyen

Some Illinois drivers are hitting a roadblock, but it's not on asphalt—it's in their text messages. Customers of the Illinois Tollway are being targeted by a phishing scam, receiving messages about purported unpaid tolls that are entirely bogus, the Illinois Tollway has warned. According to a report by NBC Chicago, despite the scam's recent unearthing and swift moves by authorities to shut down the associated website, some I-Pass users said that the scammy communication persists.

Screened by the hardworking people at the tollway, the scammers are sending texts to unsuspecting drivers, indicating an outstanding toll fee along with a pending hefty late fee, directing victims to a fake website to collect their financial credentials. "They're not after the $12. They're after draining your bank account or running up your credit card limit," explained Governors State University Professor Bill Kresse in an interview with CBS Chicago. The phishers, armed with technology, have been casting texts far and wide, only needing a small fraction of recipients to take the bait.

As these illicit messages are swindling Illinoisans of their peace of mind, the Illinois Tollway's spokesperson has instructed any recipient of such messages to delete them immediately and report them to the FBI's Internet Crime Complaint Center. Committed to customer safety, the agency also advises checking account statuses directly on their official website or through their customer service center, as reported by NBC Chicago.

These payment prompts, dressed in the guise of official tollway demand, are part of a larger trend, as the Federal Trade Commission has identified impostor scams as a top fraud category. With a shift towards using text and email rather than voice calls, these swindlers are adopting more sophisticated tactics each year. In the words of Professor Kresse, echoing reliability, "Listen to that little voice. It will save you a lot of trouble. Save you a lot of money." This advice, gleaned from CBS Chicago's interview, is a crucial reminder to slow down and verify before hastily pushing funds into the cavernous pockets of thieves.

In response to the scamming spree, the Illinois Tollway has taken protective measures for I-Pass users, such as transitioning from windshield transponders to sticker tags earlier this year, claiming the move as the latest development in toll collection technology. The agency stated that other toll agencies across the nation are also adopting sticker tags for a "convenient, reliable and less expensive travel experience for our customers," as per NBC Chicago.