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Beware of email attachments purporting to carry case information, courts warn

Posted Jan 16, 2014 11:41 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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Scam emails claiming to carry information about pending court hearings may carry computer viruses, according to court officials.

The emails claim to come from both state and federal courts, according to a press release by the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts. Attachments or links said to carry case information infect computers when opened.

Charles Hall, a spokesman for the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts, told The BLT: The Blog of Legal Times that federal officials noticed an uptick in complaints about the phony emails this month.

Some scam email addresses ended in @jonesday.com and @hoganlovells.com, though the law firms had no part in the emails, according to court officials in Georgia and Washington, D.C. Leah Gurowitz, a D.C. courts spokeswoman, told the BLT that both firms are aware of the phony references and are “working to address the matter.” The New York Daily News says the names of other BigLaw firms have also been used by scammers to make the attachments look legitimate.

Al.com published one of the fake emails, labeled a “notice to appear.”

“Hereby you are notified that you have been scheduled to appear for your hearing,” the email says, listing a court and time. “Please bring all documents and witnesses relating to this case with you to court on your hearing date. The copy of the court notice is attached to this letter. Please read it thoroughly.”

The email goes on to warn that failure to appear could result in legal action such as jail and fines.

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