Mississippi Administrative Office of Courts warns of e-mail scam

Published 7:00 am Saturday, January 31, 2015

The Mississippi Administrative Office of Courts is warning residents of an e-mail scam that uses fake court summonses in order to acquire sensitive information from unknowing recipients.

According to a statement released by the office of courts, the e-mails contain a fictitious notice of an upcoming court proceeding involving the recipient.

“These e-mails were not sent by the Court of Appeals or any entity associated with the Mississippi Judiciary,” the release states, “Persons who are not involved in litigation would not receive such an e-mail from the Mississippi appellate courts.”

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The e-mails may be sent from a misleading address that is similar to an actual government agency, according to the release.

The body of the e-mail notifies the recipients of their involvement in a court proceeding and leads them to click on a link that claims to provide more information. The link in the e-mail appears at the end of the sentence, “More detailed information regarding the case can be found here,” and is the key element of the scammer’s deception.

“The spammer’s goal in sending these e-mails is for the victim to click the ‘can be found here’ link so that they can collect sensitive information from the victim, remotely install malware on the victim’s computer, or both,” said Mississippi Supreme Court Director of Information Technology Daryl L. Wingo in the release.

The Office of the Clerk of the Mississippi Supreme Court and Court of Appeals has received a number of inquiries concerning these fraudulent e-mails, the release states.

According to the release, court systems in other states are reporting the occurrence of similar scams, including one that makes reference to nonexistent arrest warrants.

E-mail users are advised to be cautious of clicking on links that are sent through electronic correspondence and should contact the court by telephone if there is any suspicion of the sender’s identity, the release states.