Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez Warns Against Smishing Scam That Uses Official-Looking NYC Website, After Shutting Down 11 Domains


Friday, July 5, 2024

Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez Warns Against Smishing Scam

That Uses Official-Looking NYC Website, After Shutting Down 11 Domains

Text Messages Ask Users for Nominal Fee to Settle Outstanding Parking or Toll Balance;

Clicking on Accompanied Link Lets Scammers Harvest Personal and Financial Information

Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez, together with New York City Mayor Eric Adams, today announced that his Virtual Currency Unit shut down 11 internet domains associated with a smishing scam in which people receive a text message regarding a purported unpaid parking ticket balance or toll fee. Clicking on the attached link takes potential victims to an official-looking website, where they’re asked to enter their identifying information, which can then be used for identity theft or sold on the Dark Web.

District Attorney Gonzalez said, “Swift response by our Virtual Currency Unit allowed us to dismantle 11 domains that were used to scam New Yorkers by using credible-looking websites. People should be very suspicious of any unsolicited text message or email requesting money or personal information, and to never click on link without knowing the sender. Even as we continue to shut down these fraudulent sites, education and prevention remain the best defense.”

Mayor Adams said, “This administration will not sit idly by while bad actors attempt to take advantage of unsuspecting New Yorkers. When we were informed of this scam, we immediately alerted New Yorkers and reminded them that the Department of Finance and NYC City Pay will never require payment from anyone via text message. We remain committed to keeping New Yorkers informed and commend District Attorney Gonzalez for moving quickly to shut down 11 websites involved in this devious text message phishing scam. We will not tolerate these attempts to exploit our community’s trust. As always, we urge New Yorkers to stay vigilant and stay informed, and NYC Cyber Command will continue to partner with the DA’s Office to ensure all New Yorkers are aware of similar campaigns and have all the information needed to protect themselves from identity theft.”

The District Attorney said that this week, his office became aware of this scam after a detective received a text message requesting $2.50 to settle a $25 balance and providing a link. Dozens of complaints describing the same text were additionally received by the Cyber Currency Unit. The operation was identified as a smishing scam, which is a type of phishing scam that uses text messages and websites to solicit users’ personal information, and often starts with an alarming, and legitimate-looking text message.

The investigation revealed that, when users clicked on the link, they were taken to a realistic-looking website, purportedly from “NYC Citypay,” where they were asked for their name, date of birth, driver’s license number, and credit or debit card number. That information could then be sold online and used for identity theft, to open credit cards accounts, and for other illegal activities. Twenty-four hours after initiating an investigation, the DA’s Office identified 11 domains connected to the scam and took them offline pursuant to a court order. The dismantled domains are:,,,,,,,,,,,

People who responded to the text and entered their information, should freeze the account they used to pay the small fee, activate a credit card freeze, notify their bank and credit card provider, and closely monitor their finances for a few months to look for unusual activity.

The investigation into this case was handled by Assistant District Attorney Alona Katz, Chief of the Virtual Currency Unit with assistance from Virtual Currency Analyst Sam Weaver and Senior Detective Investigator Gerard Caffrey.