As the state rolls out all-electronic tolling on the Tobin Bridge, drivers without E-ZPasses can soon expect to receive invoices in the US mail — but don’t be fooled by official-looking e-mails from the toll transponder company.
According to the Massachusetts Department of Transportation, some residents have received phony e-mails that appear to be sent from the “E-ZPass Customer Service Center,” which purport to be in reference to “Payment for driving on toll road.”
Don’t believe it, MassDOT said.
“Please be advised that this is NOT a communication from E-ZPass, but is likely a phishing scam,” the agency wrote in a statement. “E-ZPass advises you not to open or respond to that message.”
For those non-techno-savants: “Phishing” is a kind of fraud that occurs when scammers send e-mails that appear to be from legitimate companies and ask for online account details or private financial information.
And it’s not just Massachusetts residents at risk. The scammers have also targeted people in New York, New Jersey, and Washington, D.C. In some cases, recipients were able to quickly recognize the e-mails were fraudulent because of a simple reason — they don’t own an E-ZPass.
But Boston-area drivers are particularly at risk of being confused by the spurious e-mails because of the state’s imminent transition to all-electronic tolling. Soon, drivers without toll responders will start receiving legitimate bills asking them to pay for driving over the Tobin Bridge. But those invoices will come via snail mail, not e-mail, and they won’t be sent by E-ZPass.
MassDOT officials advised customers concerned about the validity of a message to contact E-ZPass customer service at 1-877-627-7745.
It’s not the first time impersonators have targeted the state’s drivers: For years, MassDOT has tried to steer people away from third-party websites that charge a fee for providing vehicle registration forms that can be obtained for free on the state’s website, massrmv.com .
“Avoid any site that uses or references the ‘Department of Motor Vehicles’ or the ‘DMV,’” MassDOT advised in a statement last year. “The word ‘Department’ and the ‘DMV’ abbreviation are NOT used in Massachusetts.”Martine Powers can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @martinepowers.