If you haven't received a phony email or text from someone purporting to be with the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT), just be patient because you probably will.

I don't know for certain that you'll be on the receiving end of one of these phishing emails or texts, but based upon my own experience, I wouldn't be the least bit surprised.

I say that because in the last week, I've gotten two texts that both claim to be from the Illinois Department of Transportation. Both texts told me to click on a link that was so very kindly provided for me, and doing so would "validate" my Illinois driver's license. My wife Amy has also gotten two very similar texts.

I wouldn't be wasting your time with this if it were only the two of us who've gotten these notifications, but it's not. It's lots and lots of Illinoisans, and not all of them know that these texts (and sometimes emails) are nothing but a scam. It's become such a problem that IDOT has felt the need to issue warnings about how to handle them if it happens to you.

Illinois Transportation Secretary Omer Osman:

If you receive a text or email that appears to be from IDOT asking for your personal information, you can be sure it's a scam. Please know that we are aware of this issue and are working with the Illinois Attorney General’s office to protect you from these fraudulent schemes.

The problem with these fraudulent texts and emails is that they look like they're official. Most Illinoisans are good, solid, law-abiding citizens, and we want to make sure that we're doing things right, so an official-looking text or email is all it takes to push us into anxiety about potential troubles down the road if we don't cooperate.

Here's the bottom line if you get the phony text or email: don't click on any links provided. The link could download malware onto your device, or it could send you to a fake website where they're waiting to get your personal information. Both options will end badly for you.

IDOT does not ask for Social Security or banking information through email or text messaging. They also point out that any demands for that type of information, or a demand of quick action like a payment or validation of personal info is a definite indicator of a scam.

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