TollspaNY Scam Exposed: Beware of This Sneaky Scheme

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  • Post published:March 3, 2024
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Have you recently received a text message claiming you have an “outstanding toll balance” and asking you to visit a website called tollspayny.com? If so, you’ve been targeted by a devious new scam that’s spreading like wildfire across the New York area.

In this super-detailed post, I’ll expose exactly how this tollspayny.com scam works, show you real-life examples straight from Reddit, and give you specific tips to avoid falling victim. By the end, you’ll be an expert on sniffing out and shutting down this fraudulent scheme.

Let’s dive right in!

What is the TollspaNY Scam?

The tollspayny.com scam is a classic case of smash-and-grab cybercrime. Here’s how it plays out:

First, scammers blast out text messages to thousands of random phone numbers, claiming the recipient has unpaid tolls and fees.

The text (which often comes from a spoofed, legitimate-looking phone number) contains a link to a website that looks extremely similar to real toll payment sites used by transportation authorities.

If you visit the fake site and enter your personal and payment information, thinking you’re paying legitimate tolls, the scammers can drain your accounts and open new lines of credit using your stolen info.

Here’s an example text received by a Reddit user in the NYC area:

“You have an outstanding toll balance. To prevent $60.00 in penalties, please visit https://tollspayny.com

So far, reports of the scam have focused on New York and surrounding states that use EZPass and other electronic toll collection systems. But this type of fraud could easily spread to other regions.

Let me show you some chilling first-hand accounts from victims and experts…

Real Examples of the TollspaNY Scam from Reddit

One of the first places the tollspayny.com scam appeared was on the /r/Scams subreddit, where users began posting about suspicious text messages they received:

“Pretty sure this isn’t legit. Just want to confirm

Text message from +14509443214: You have an outstanding toll balance. To prevent $60.00 in penalties, please visit https://tollspayny.com

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I do cross the NYC area bridges a lot but I do have auto pay and auto load on my EzPass so I doubt it’s legit but just want to make sure”

Other Reddit users were quick to identify key red flags that this was a scam:

“It’s a scam. Someone else posted about it, website is three days old, newly created.”

“Created 3/3/24 and only registered for one year. Scam.”

“I wonder what [email protected] would have to say…”

That last comment referred to the domain registrar for tollspayny.com, hinting that the user planned to contact the company directly and report the fraudulent site.

More evidence continued rolling in across multiple subreddit threads:

“They should send you a mail if anything. But if you are unsure you can always go on the legit website and search up your license plate”

“Scammers are texting EVERY New York area code-phone number.”

“They would most likely send you a letter rather than a text. Scam for sure.”

“Just got exact same message, but slightly different phone number. Ignoring it.”

“Scam, domain registered today”

As these examples show, seasoned internet users and anti-fraud experts were quickly able to identify the telltale signs of the tollspayny scam through information shared across reddit communities.

How to Spot the TollspaNY Scam (3 Blazing Red Flags)

With so many official-looking scam sites like tollspayny.com popping up, it’s getting harder to tell legitimate correspondence from fraud.

However, there are a few blazing red flags that this is a scam:

Red Flag #1: Unexpected Requests for Payment Over Text/Email

Legitimate toll road authorities and other government agencies will almost never ask you to pay outstanding fees over text message or email.

For example, the New York EZPass system has an online account portal where you can view your balance and payment history. They would also mail you multiple past-due notices before ever escalating to texting random payment links.

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Red Flag #2: Brand New Domain Names

As the Reddit users noticed, the tollspayny.com domain was brandnew registered. A quick WhoIs lookup shows:

Domain: TOLLSPAYNY.COM Registrar: ERAANET.COM Registration Date: 2024-03-03

Always be wary of calls, texts or emails containing links to websites with domains that were just very recently registered. Legitimate businesses have domains that have existed for years.

Red Flag #3: Suspicious, Spoofed Phone Numbers

The texts containing the tollspayny link often come from suspicious phone numbers that seem legit at first glance.

For example, the number that contacted the Reddit user (+14509443214) has a 450 area code, which covers Staten Island and certain NYC boroughs. But a reverse phone lookup shows over 2,300 other spam complaints associated with that number.

If you try calling the number back, it’s either disconnected or rings somewhere obviously shady. Authorities always have actual published contact numbers you can verify.

Beyond these red flags, be skeptical of any correspondence riddled with typos, grammar mistakes, or inconsistencies. Real government agencies are typically sticklers about proper spelling and formatting.

How to Protect Yourself From Scams Like TollspaNY

Now that you know how to identify the tollspayny.com scam and similar rip-off schemes, let’s cover steps you can take to protect yourself and avoid falling victim:

✅ Never Click on Links From Unsolicited Messages or Calls:

Whether it’s a text, email or phone call you weren’t expecting from an 800 number, ignore any links or attachment. Clicking or opening these can expose your device to malware.

✅ Instead, Visit Official Sites Directly:

If you have reason to believe you may legitimately owe a toll payment or other government fee, visit the appropriate agency website directly by typing the URL into your browser. Don’t use any links provided to you.

✅ Contact the Agency Through Confirmed, Published Channels:

Find published customer service phone numbers and email addresses on the agency’s website to inquire about any potential payments you might owe or issues with your account. Don’t rely on numbers provided in unsolicited messages.

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✅ Be Proactive About Credit Monitoring:

Identity theft is one of the biggest dangers of scams like tollspayny.com. If you suspect you may have entered personal info into a fraudulent site, lock down your credit reports and banking accounts immediately. Also monitor all financial statements for any suspicious activity.

✅ Report It!

Finally, make a habit of always reporting fishy messages, websites, and scams to the proper authorities like the FTC, FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center, and your local police. The more data on these frauds, the better law enforcement can track and catch the perpetrators.

TollspaNY Scam: The Bottom Line

Toll payment fraud is just the latest devious scheme used by bad actors to drain people’s bank accounts and steal their identities. Scammers follow the money, and electronic toll collection systems are a prime target.

While it can be hard to keep up with rapidly evolving scams like the tollspayny website, following basic best practices and listening to your gut when something seems phishy will go a long way.

In general, be extremely wary of unsolicited messages asking you to click on links or attachments to pay alleged bills or fees. Verify everything through official, published channels.

Painstakingly confirming things like toll payments may seem inconvenient, but it’s well worth it to avoid the massive headache of drained bank accounts and stolen personal information.

Now I’d like to hear from you:

Have you received any toll payment scams similar to the tollspayny.com scheme? If so, what was your experience like? Let me know in the comments!

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