E-mail scam alert

September 4, 2015

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An e-mail scam that uses a fictitious court summonses message titled “notice to appear in court” has become active again.

The scam e-mails are a ruse intended to persuade recipients to click on and open an attachment or a link that will cause the recipient’s computer to become infected with a computer virus.

The suspicious e-mails claim to be a notice to attend a court proceeding, although the e-mail recipient is not involved in any litigation. Persons who are not involved in litigation would not receive such e-mail from the Mississippi courts.

One recent example reads:

Notice to Appear,
This is to inform you to appear in the Court on the September 12 for your case hearing.
You are kindly asked to prepare and bring the documents relating to the case to Court on the specified date.
Note: If you do not come, the case will be heard in your absence. You can review complete details of the Court Notice in the attachment.

These e-mails were not sent by any entity associated with the Mississippi Judiciary. Spammers may create sender addresses that mimic government agency addresses.

E-mail users are warned not to open an attachment or link in unsolicited e-mail fitting this description. Opening the attachment may expose the user’s computer to malware or allow the spammer to collect sensitive information. Be cautious of opening attachments or links in electronic correspondence received from unknown sources.

The recent recurrence of spam disguised as court correspondence is a variation of a scam that has appeared around the country for several years. Earlier similar scam e-mails stated that the recipient’s complaint had been received by the court, and attempted to get the recipient to open a link or an attached document. Recipients of those e-mails had not filed anything with the courts. Other variations reference nonexistent arrest warrants, or tell the recipient to send money.

If in doubt about the authenticity of e-mail correspondence, independently look up a telephone number and call the court named in the e-mail.