I received an interesting email tonight, which I thought I would share with you. At first glance, it says it's from EZPass and claims I have a toll road violation. Here's what it says:
Notice to Appear,
You have a debt to pay for using a toll road.
Please, do not forget to service your debt.
The invoice is attached to this email.
Scary, huh? I did not try to open the file, but the invoice was so big it needed a zip file, so it can't be good. There are a couple of other warning signs that this is a scam and not a real notice from EZPass. For starters, not only does the author fail to identify themselves, but there is no EZPass logo or information about how to contact them. When I use the mouse to just hover over the sender's identity, the email address I see it was sent from is extra interesting: E-ZPass Agent <[email protected]>. Does anyone really believe that EZPass uses theparisfashionhouse.com to host it's email account? I hope not.
I'm assuming this one is a virus, but everyone should know that if you get a copy of this email it's not real. If you ever receive any type of communication from EZPass, the Dulles Toll Road, or the new Express Toll Lanes, you should not just ignore it like I am doing today. Instead, check it out. Go online to the appropriate website or call to verify you really are accused of not paying the toll.
If a violation gets to court, they will be asking the judge for a large amount of money, often with multiple violations. These tolls are collected by private companies who's primary interest is in collecting as much money as possible. The fees they want are in my opinion outrageous and unconstitutional. I can understand wanting the unpaid toll, any actual expenses such as postage they have to pay in collecting the fee, and possibly a minimal late payment fee. But, so far the typical defendant I've seen in court for toll violations has been sued for thousands of dollars in civil fines and administrative fees.
So, don't take the chance. If you know you've run a toll, be proactive and accept responsibility for it. Log in to EZPass the same day with your license plate number so you can avoid the exorbitant fees. You can do it at www.ezpassva.com. The longer you wait, the more money they're going to want, and the more likely it is you will find yourself needing a lawyer to fight the fees in court.