Scheme Alert: Fake court summons emails

(WPRI) – A court appearance scheme is using fake emails to infect computers across the nation.

In this scheme, fraudsters are sending out infected emails with the subject line “Urgent Court Notice.” The email says that you are being summoned for a court appearance and that you have been scheduled to appear for your hearing. It provides the date, time and location of the trial but withholds any details.

For the details of the summons you are urged to download the attached copy of the court notice.  Call 12 for Action has learned that the attachment is actually malware that will infect your computer if downloaded.

Call 12 for Action warns that schemers are attempting to catch you off guard and create a sense of urgency.

How to spot this scheme: 

  1. Courts do not typically summon people via email, text message or phone. Unless you are involved in a case and have opted into receiving email communications, courts normally communicate through mail.
  2. Confirm with the court. If you ever question whether you need to appear in court, call the court system to check. Search for the phone number on the web; don’t call a number in the email.
  3. Watch out for variations. A similar scam tells victims that they missed or are being summoned for jury duty.
  4. Ignore calls for immediate action. Schemers try to get you to act before you think by creating a sense of urgency. Don’t fall for it.

If you receive a suspicious email summoning you to court, you are warned not to open it.

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