Q I received an email from E-ZPass saying I failed to pay for a using a toll road on Interstate 580 and they wanted me to mail in the fine. We weren't even on 580. ... These junk emails say my E-ZPass or some other transit electronic system has expired or is overdrawn and I need to "click on the link" to correct the problem. ... Is this for real?
Joanne Brewer, Joseph Rock and far too many others to tally
A No, this is a scam. There is a phishing email being sent to drivers across the nation claiming they owe money for unpaid E-ZPass tolls. This is not an email from Bay Area FasTrak folks, Golden Gate Bridge officials or E-ZPass tolling agencies. E-ZPass is used to collect tolls electronically on the East Coast; FasTrak is used to collect tolls electronically on the West Coast.
Do NOT click on the link. Bay Area bridge officials say phishing emails, websites and phone calls are designed to steal money, and criminals do this by installing malicious software or stealing personal information off your computer. To report a phishing email, forward it to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Q I need to talk to someone at FasTrak about charges for trips I haven't taken that are being charged to my account. I started calling FasTrak a month ago. Tried about five or six times. At first, they said they were moving, couldn't answer the phones and gave a date when they would complete their move. Now, they simply say "we are too busy," "try again," "visit the website."
They have always been very nice when I called in the past. But this is shameful for them to carry on what is starting to look like, at worst, a charade, and at best, a terribly undermanned agency that is nevertheless taking in tons of money. Any help from you to get them to start answering phones again would be appreciated.
A I'm not sure why you got the runaround that you did, but here's the scoop. The number of incoming calls is extremely high and comparable to the call volume last spring and summer during the start of all-electronic tolling on the Golden Gate Bridge. As a result, FasTrak's customer service center needs to increase staffing to meet the volume. Calls are especially high on Mondays and Tuesdays, and frequently overflow the capacity of the automated phone system. When this happens, the message that callers receive states that all lines are busy.
Wednesdays and Thursdays are better days to get through, but wait times might still be high.
Q My car was robbed and for some unfathomable reason my FasTrak transponder was taken. When these idiots cross a bridge, will there be a nice clear photograph of them now that I've reported it stolen?
A No. The cameras at any of the toll bridges would capture an image of the license plate, but the people inside would not be visible. And even if the occupants were visible, state privacy laws would limit release of those images to law enforcement only in response to a search warrant.