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Wide World of Pranks: Cars & Trucks

FasTrak Toll Tag Prank

This is an evil, destructive prank and I really don't recommend you do this. But it's so devious, we thought you deserved to know about it.

FasTrak is an electronic toll collection system which allows a vehicle to pass through a toll booth without stopping to pay.

FasTrak uses RFID technology to read data from a transponder placed in a vehicle. The RFID transponder in each vehicle is associated with a prepaid debit account; each time the vehicle passes underneath a toll collection site, the account is debited to pay the toll. If a vehicle does not have a transponder, a Violation Enforcement System triggers cameras that take photos of the vehicle and its license plate for processing. If the license plate is registered as belonging to a FasTrak user, the account is debited only the toll charge, and no penalty is charged; otherwise, a violation notice is sent to the registered owner of the vehicle.

This is where the fun comes in.

Purchase a transponder. They are available at Costco, Safeway and other retail establishments. The transponder comes with velcro, so it's easy to mount it anywhere on a vehicle. Place the toll tag under the front bumper or the rear bumper of the vehicle.

As your victim passes through the toll plaza, whether or not they pay with cash or FasTrak, the transponder pings the system and places a toll on that transponder. Every time the person passes through the toll plaza, the transponder charges another toll. After a while, the prepaid balance will be used up and your victim will be charged with a toll violation. Every time they pass through the toll plaza, they get another violation. If they commute five times a week, thats five violations a week until they discover the toll tag.

With each violation, they have to contact the FasTrak Authority to dispute the charge. If they forget the charges, they cannot renew their tabs. FasTrak is a bureaucratic nightmare to deal with which does not understand the concept of Customer Service. So chances your victim will have a hard time explaining this was some sort of prank. FasTrak doesn't care, they just want the money.

We came up with this prank after spending 30 minutes on the phone with FasTrak trying to figure out why we were unable to make payments on a legitimate toll tag. The on-line payment system was down, so we could not pay. FasTrak disabled our transponder and told us we could not get a refund for the tag because we didn't make a timely payment and they refused to reactivate the transponder. This is our way of extracting our deposit and inflicting some revenge.


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