State and federal officials are warning commuters about a scam involving the E-ZPass toll payment method.

The Maryland Transportation Authority and the FBI local field office said there’s a text messaging swindle taking place at tolling booths across the state asking customers to enter their personal data and financial information into a fake website, where it is accessed by cybercriminals.

FBI Supervisory Special Agent Keith Custer confirmed the agency has received 20 complaints from Maryland victims through its Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) reporting system, adding that this type of “smishing,” or SMS phishing, scam is “very underreported” in the state.

“We’re certain that literally thousands of people have received these texts because it’s a sneaky cyberattack that targets people through a simple text on their mobile phones,” Custer said.

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The FBI said complaints were filed between March 25 through April 23. IC3 has received over 2,000 complaints reporting fraudulent texts representing road toll collection services from at least three states, including New York.

All reports can be directed to agency service providers, and to the Internet Crime Complaint Center, which is FBI-run.

“These unwanted smishing attacks is a real problem of momentum. This one will probably kind of peter out over time, but we’ll continue to encourage folks to make reports,” Custer said. “That’s how we gather a lot of information about the current scams that are going on and enables us to act.”

All eight Maryland Transit Authority facilities are all electronic and cashless. With All Electronic Tolling (AET), drivers do not have stop or slow down to pay tolls. Instead, they are collected through E-ZPass, Pay-By-Plate, and Video Tolling, according to DriveEzMD.

MDTA said is committed to ensuring the highest level of service and security for all DriveEzMD tolling customers.

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“We urge all tolling customers to exercise caution and only use trusted sources for any transactions or inquiries related to their accounts,” the statement read.

“Please be aware that neither DriveEzMD nor the MDTA sends text messages requesting unpaid toll payments,” the agency said.

For accurate account information and secure payment options, customers are asked to use the official DriveEzMD mobile app or visit

Penelope Blackwell is a Breaking News reporter with The Banner. Previously, she covered local government in Durham, NC, for The News & Observer. She received her bachelor’s degree in journalism from Morgan State University and her master’s in journalism from Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism.

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