The official-looking warning letters began arriving in the mail last week to dozens, perhaps hundreds or even thousands of people.
The Final Warning Notices instruct recipients to send a cashiers check or money order for $57 to an address near Doral as payment for outstanding tolls of $7 plus a $50 fee. Do it, the letter warns, or face immobilization of your vehicle, suspension of your drivers license or additional fees of $500.
Its a scam.
Says who? Says the the Florida Department of Transportation thats who. It is trying to track down the perpetrators, who call themselves Toll Enforcement, LLC.
No such company is listed on the Florida Division of Corporations website.
Calls to two phone numbers listed on the fake warning notices, one in Miami and the other in Tallahassee, were not answered Tuesday. The one in Miami had voicemail but no one returned the call. The one in Tallahassee just rang and no one picked up.
The address listed on the notice, 8369 NW 66th St., is a mail- and package-forwarding business, USAbox.com, located in an area of warehouses,
Carlos Dominguez, the manager of USAbox.com, told El Nuevo Herald that between five and seven people have been coming by his office every day to inquire about the letters since last week.
Law enforcement is handling it, said Dominguez. They are aware it and are figuring out the best way to proceed.
Dominguez said USAbox.com receives mail for customers and then forwards it to them.
We open an account and they tell us where to forward it, he added.
Michael Pancier, an attorney in Pembroke Pines, received one of the notices last Friday at his office and became suspicious right away.
I see toll violation and I get upset because I have SunPass," Pancier said in a phone interview. I looked at it asking for 57 dollars and in language like a collection letter. I called the phone numbers and there was no answer. Also my cars are registered to my home, not my office.
He said he posted the notice on his Facebook page, and since then has received thousands of messages from people throughout the state who have received similar notices.
Chad Huff, a spokesman for Florida Turnpike Enterprise, said FDOT does not do business with Toll Enforcement, LLC and has posted a fraud alert on the turnpike website, the SunPass website and the Toll-by-Plate website.
The Miami-Dade Expressways Authority (MDX) also said it had posted a fraud alert on its website.
Legitimate notices about unpaid tolls and toll violations issued by FDOT are printed in official document form and list the date, time and location of the alleged violation and a photo of the vehicle passing through a toll plaza.
Toll-by-Plate is a collection system for drivers who do not have the SunPass device. A camera snaps a photo of the vehicles license plate as it passes below an electronic collection point and then a bill is mailed at the end of the month to the registered owner.
FDOT said the Florida Highway Patrol and the Miami-Dade Police as well as other law enforcement agencies are investigating the matter. The department asked anyone who received the Toll Enforcement, LLC notices to contact SunPass at 888-865-5352.