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Florida Regulators Crack Down On “SunPass Scams”

West Palm Beach Business Litigation Attorney 2023-01-26 16-49-13

On May 10th, 2024, The Palm Beach Post reported that Florida regulators are cracking down on so-called “SunPass scams.” Within the last few days, ten different websites targeted consumers in our state have been shut down by authorities. These websites were used to send unsuspecting people fraudulent SunPass toll violations. Here, our Palm Beach County deceptive trade practices attorney provides an overview of the enforcement action announced by Florida regulators.

A Brief Overview of SunPass in Florida 

SunPass is Florida’s electronic toll collection system. It is designed to facilitate faster, cashless toll transactions across the state’s highways and bridges. Managed by the Florida Department of Transportation, SunPass users can preload funds into their account and/or connect a credit card. Toll fees can then be automatically deducted, eliminating the need to stop and pay at a toll booth.

 Fraudsters Used Fake Websites and Text Messages to Harass Drivers 

Fraudsters set up a collection of at least ten fake websites to try to trick drivers into paying fake SunPass tolls. Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody announced the crackdown after finding that cybercriminals sent fake texts to drivers. Those text messages directed those drivers to counterfeit websites that mimicked the official SunPass portal to collect payments. The state’s Cyber Fraud Enforcement Unit—in collaboration with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement—has successfully shut down ten of these deceptive sites.

 New Type of Scam has Been Called “Smishing” By Authorities 

The SunPass scam has been referred to as an example of “smishing” by state officials. The term “smishing” has been coined by authorities to describe a type of scam that involves sending fraudulent text messages to trick recipients into revealing personal information or making payments. Smishing combines “SMS,” referring to text messaging, with “phishing.”

In a typical smishing scam, the perpetrator sends a text that appears to be from a legitimate source, such as a bank or government agency, claiming that urgent action is required. The message often includes a link to a fake website that mimics a reputable entity. The fraudsters goal is generally to steal login credentials, financial details, or other sensitive personal data.

 Consumer Protection Tip: Always Double Check the Source Before You Pay 

To safeguard against scams, consumers are advised to always verify the source before making any payments. A key recommendation: Always double-checking that the communication—whether an email, text, or phone call—comes from an official and credible entity by comparing contact details with those on the official website. When in doubt, it is best to not pay through a text message link. Find another method to make the payment.

Consult With an FDUTPA Lawyer in Palm Beach County Today

At Pike & Lustig, LLP, our FDUTPA attorneys put the rights and interests of clients first. If you have any specific questions or concerns about an FDUTPA claim, please do not hesitate to contact us today for your completely confidential consultation. Our firm handles deceptive and unfair trade practices cases in Palm Beach County, Broward County, Miami-Dade County, and beyond.



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