Millions of Australian drivers have been told to watch out for a clever scam that asks them to pay thousands of dollars in tolls.
Drivers in Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne are receiving fake text messages from scammers posing as the electronic tag toll company, Linkt, which is run by Transurban.
“Unpaid tolls in September result in serious fines if late, please deal with them ASAP,” the text message reads, before instructing users to click on a URL link.
Linkt’s owner, Transurban, said the fraudulent text messages were being sent to the general public, including people who did not have an account with the toll company.
Millions of Australian drivers have been told to watch out for a clever scam asking them to pay thousands of dollars in tolls (file image)
“Unpaid tolls in September cause serious backlog, address ASAP,” the text message reads, before instructing users to click a URL link (pictured)
Customers have been advised to immediately delete any suspicious messages, not to click any links, and to report the scam on the Linkt website.
Other texts tell drivers their account is ‘banned’ or ‘vehicle info hasn’t been updated for a long time and is now disabled’.
In a statement on its website, Linkt said it would occasionally send emails or SMS to customers asking them to update their personal details in the app or on the website.
“We will never ask you to update financial information via SMS, but we may give you the option to update your email address by replying to an SMS,” he said.
If a driver clicks on the URL, it opens a website that looks identical to the original site, and once credit card details are entered, scammers can drain bank accounts.
Drivers in Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne are receiving fake text messages from scammers pretending to be from the Linkt toll company (file image)
HOW TO AVOID THE TOLL SCAM
1. Transurban, which owns Linkt, and NSW government E-toll said they will never send text messages requesting payment, so ignore them and block the number.
2. Never click a link in a text message or email to navigate to Linkt or E-toll websites, but instead enter the address manually or use the app.
3. Ignore any message that doesn’t seem legitimate, for example, misspelled or from a foreign number or has strange links.
A driver posted a screenshot of a scam text to warn other users on Reddit.
“I got this yesterday, I was thinking what the hell I haven’t been anywhere with tolls for several months,” said one user.
“Haha yeah definitely didn’t click on it but it made me stop and think about where I’ve been driving lately,” said another.
“I have one of these and I don’t even drive,” wrote a third.
The young mother, Catherine Arrowsmith, said she double-checked the website and it looked legitimate, but was quickly scammed out of thousands.
“About two weeks later they went and spent about $8,000 in Victoria and I live in NSW,” he told A Current Affair earlier this month.
She’s angry that her bank didn’t flag the unusual transactions and put a hold on her card.
Linkt’s owner, Transurban, said the fraudulent text messages were being sent to the general public, including people who did not have an account with the toll company (file image of a Linkt electronic tag)
‘They didn’t put any stops on the cards. The transactions were for $2,500, another $900 at Coles and another $900 at Woolies’.
“I don’t think I’ve ever spent $900 on Coles,” he said.
Pensioner Andrew Engel, 74, was robbed of $11,000 in a series of transactions under exactly $1,000 at the same Kmart store.
“I go to bed at night, it’s the last thing I think about, it’s the first thing I think about when I wake up because it’s a huge amount of money,” he said.
His bank also did not stop the card even though the transactions were very out of the ordinary for the customer of decades.
While Arrowsmith has recovered around three-quarters of his money through dispute resolution with his bank, Engels remains out of pocket.
We will never ask you to reply to an email or SMS with your financial information or personal information. If we need you to manage your account, we will always direct you to log into your account directly through linkt.com.au or the Linkt app.
Our Cyber Security Operations team is working with telecommunications providers to identify and block the phone numbers that send these text messages. We have reported nearly 2,000 unique scam messages to telecom providers so they can block them to protect our customers and the Australian public.
These fraudulent text messages are sent to the general public, including people who may not have an account with Linkt.
If you get a message from someone claiming to be Linkt or Transurban that doesn’t seem quite right to you, don’t click the link. Some examples of what you might see in a scam text include incorrect spelling or strange URLs.