By Charlotte Huffman
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — CBS 3 has a warning for drivers about E-Z Pass scammers who have found a way to run tolls on the turnpike and send innocent drivers the bill.
When one driver faced hundreds of dollars in fines, Investigative Reporter Charlotte Huffman went to work to get some answers.
It’s an E-Z Pass scheme that can impact thousands of drivers, even if they’ve never been through the toll plaza.
“Really, when I tell you that car has not gone anywhere but to the corner and back, it’s concerning,” said Debbie vonBerg of Marlton, New Jersey.
It happened to Mark vonBerg.
“I walked in and my wife said, ‘you have problems’ and I said, whoa,” that how Debbie’s husband Mark described the situation when E-Z pass violations turned up in their mail.
Inside, there were 11 tickets totaling more than $600 for running E-Z Pass Tolls on the New Jersey Turnpike.
“I was just like what is this, who did this?” said vonBerg’s wife, Debbie.
The vonBergs had not traveled on the turnpike during the dates on the E-Z Pass citation and the vehicle pictured on is not a vehicle that the family owns.
“This is ridiculous,” said Mark. “It’s cut and dry, literally black and white, the truck is white, my truck is black.”
The white truck pictured running the tolls was using the same temporary license plate number as the black Jeep that vonBerg had recently purchased for his daughter.
The scam is as simple as writing down a temp tag number and reproducing it as your own.
“(Scam artists) can go to any laser printer and it prints out on a white piece of paper which is what the temp tag is, a white piece of paper with bold black letters,” explained vonBerg.
NJ Car, the New Jersey coalition of auto retailers says they’ve received dozens of complaints from dealers in the past few months.
Mark vonBerg tried disputing the fines.
He called the New Jersey Turnpike Authority.
“You get an automated system and I couldn’t get through to anybody,” said vonBerg.
So the I-Team started making some calls and just this past weekend, vonBerg received a letter from E-Z Pass saying all 11 violations have been dismissed.
Most of the violations happened after vonBerg turned in the temporary tag for a permanent one which begged the question, why was vonBerg’s temporary tag still active.
The New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission wouldn’t answer that question and declined CBS3’s request for an on-camera interview.
Instead, the Motor Vehicle Commission sent a statement, saying in part, they’re committed to protecting their customers.