Be on the lookout for fishy emails, claiming you owe money for using a toll road.
You could be the victim of a phishing scam, and they happen more often and more easily than you think.
California freeways are an easy way for scammers to weasel their way into private information. Most freeways in California are free, and if they’re not, they’re toll roads, which you’ll end up getting a bill for in the mail or online.
Emails you receive saying you owe money on a toll road could potentially be a way for a virus to get into your phone or computer to hack your information.
Murray Jennex, an information Systems professor at San Diego State University tracks down these scams for a living. He said these scams get us when we least expect it.
“When you’re on the run and checking emails to see if there’s anything important and that jumps right out at you. That’s when you’re vulnerable,” Jennex said.
He was recently looking through his email and found a bill from a toll road company called “E-ZPass,” but here in San Diego drivers know “FasTrak” or “The Toll Roads.”
The email sent to Jennex said he owed money and all he had to do was open the attachment on the email to pay. He didn’t fall for it, knowing that he would be downloading a virus and jeopardizing his personal information.
Currently, most toll roads don’t have you stop and pay, so if you are stopped it often comes as a surprise. That’s why this online scam is so common and not just in San Diego. There are a lot of warnings all over the country, most claiming to be from E-ZPass or its collection agency. It’s advised to not click on the attachment unless you know it’s legitimate.
The Riverside Press-Enterprise provided some tips that could save you from being a victim of a phishing scam.
1. Type Web addresses directly into your browser. For example, if you get an email claiming to be from Bank of America, open your browser and type bankofamerica.com instead of clicking a link in the email.
2. To verify if the email is regarding a legitimate issue, call the company directly using a phone number that you know is valid. If your email has a phone number in it, do not use that one.
3. If an email contains a link, hover your mouse over it, but do not click. Look at the address that link is going to take you to. If it’s not what you’re expecting to see, don’t click it.
Remember, if you know you owe a bill, go to the website of the company and pay it there.