Scammers are impersonating Tennessee Department of Transportation in a fraudulent effort. People are being urged not to fall for a phony text message from that state agency.
The text states, “Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT). You are required to validate your driver license, follow link below to validate.” The message includes a link.
“The text is a scam,” said TDOT spokesperson Rae Anne Bradley. “TDOT does not currently have a text alert system for external use, nor does the department handle driver licenses. That is the Department of Safety and Homeland Security. We have reported it to the proper authorities.”
The text message was received by Southern Standard general manager Dale Stubblefield at 1:16 a.m. Friday morning.
“I was asleep and it looked official. There’s no telling what would have happened if I had clicked on that link because I was half asleep. Maybe it’s a virus. Maybe it would have been someone asking for my personal information. All I know is I’m thankful I was awake enough not to.”
Stubblefield was savvy. He conducted an online search and discovered the origin of the phone number.
“It was out of Texas,” Stubblefield said. “What bothers me most about scams is when they target senior citizens. Seniors should be enjoying their retirement and not be preyed upon. Something needs to be done to protect everyone, especially senior citizens, from fraudsters.”
Before responding to any demands via text message, email or letter, or phone call, verify the source. Take a few minutes to confirm authenticity, regardless of how official it initially appears to be.
While scams might vary, the end result is always the same: requests or demands for money and/ or personal information. Scammers can act friendly and helpful, or be aggressive and threatening, in their efforts to steal money and/or personal information. They can also use “spoofing” software that identifies the incoming telephone number as belonging to the agency.
Scammers commonly require payment by gift card, prepaid debit card, or wire transfer. Those methods are hard to trace and should be a huge red flag the activity is a scam.