online scams

Watch out for this ‘overdue traffic fine’ scam that impersonates the LTO, MMDA

Lance Spencer Yu

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Watch out for this ‘overdue traffic fine’ scam that impersonates the LTO, MMDA

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Scammers are sending out text messages claiming motorists have 'overdue' fines with the LTO through the no contact apprehension policy. This policy is not currently in effect.

MANILA, Philippines – Scammers are now impersonating traffic authorities and tricking motorists into giving their bank or payment details to settle an alleged overdue traffic fine.

In two separate reports obtained by Rappler, motorists received text messages alleging that they have a “traffic offence fine that is 3 days overdue.” The text message included a clickable link, and further threatened motorists by saying that their vehicle registration would be canceled if the fine is not settled.

FAKE SMS. This text message impersonating the Land Transportation Office is a scam. Photo obtained by Rappler

Upon clicking the link, motorists were redirected to a fake Land Transportation Office (LTO) website. The URL did not end in “,” unlike the real government site.

FAKE WEBSITE. Note how the URL of this fake website differs from the URL of the actual LTO website. Photo obtained by Rappler

Both motorists also reported entering their plate number in the website, after which a fake message from the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) was displayed. In both instances monitored by Rappler, the message had the exact same details, including the “summon number” and alleged traffic offense. It also bore the vehicle plate number earlier inputted by the unsuspecting motorist.

SAME DETAILS. Both fake messages are exactly the same, except for the plate number. Photos obtained by Rappler

Those who clicked the “pay fine” button were then directed to choose a payment option and to input their bank or payment details in a fake login page. In this way, scammers would be able to obtain the motorist’s sensitive financial information.

Note how the message cites the MMDA’s “no physical contact policy” – a clear sign that this is a scam. That’s because the no contact apprehension policy has remained suspended since 2022.

In a social media post, the MMDA also warned motorists not to fall for the scam.

The LTO has also said that it is coordinating with online payment partners and the Philippine National Police to identify and run after the online scammers. In the meantime, it advised motorists that the agency does not send out notices in that manner.

Hindi po nagse-send ng notice of violation ang inyong LTO. Ang ganitong sistema ay matagal nang hindi gumagana kaya anumang message na matatanggap ninyo ay tiyak na galing sa scammers,” LTO head Vigor Mendoza II said in a press release on Friday, May 3.

(The LTO does not send a notice of violation. This kind of system has long been discontinued, so any message that you receive is guaranteed to be from scammers.) –

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Lance Spencer Yu

Lance Spencer Yu is a multimedia reporter who covers the transportation, tourism, infrastructure, finance, agriculture, and corporate sectors, as well as macroeconomic issues.