Several email and phone scams now are widespread around the world, falsely claiming that the intended victims have court cases or other legal issues pending in Florida and must pay money or hand over private information.
The Florida Supreme Court has received complaints about these scams from as far away as the United Kingdom.
Anyone receiving a “notice” of this type should not respond until further investigation. They also should not open any links in the emails, which may contain computer viruses or stealth programs to steal personal information for possible identity theft.
Concerns about any contact or phone call allegedly from a Florida state court can be addressed to the Florida Supreme Court at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Four main kinds of scams currently are ongoing, based on complaints received by the Florida Supreme Court to date. However, new variations have appeared regularly since the court issued its first warning to the public about these scams January 10.
One email scam falsely says that the intended victim has engaged in “illegal software use” and must appear in a Florida court.
Another email scam falsely says that the intended victim has filed a court complaint or is the subject of a court complaint in Florida. Many of these emails say they come from the “court secretary.”
One of the telephone scams falsely says that the intended victim has failed to appear for jury duty in Florida and must pay money as a result.
Another telephone scam falsely says that the intended victim has been sued over an old debt and must make a payment to settle the matter.
In some instances, these emails have impersonated the Web addresses of well- known law firms and may contain an attachment, supposedly a court notice or summons, or may contain a link to a website. Some reports say that the attachment or link may download a virus onto the user’s computer or device.
The federal courts in South Florida also have issued a warning about similar scams involving questions about missing jury duty. The trial courts in Orange and Osceola counties also issued a similar warning about a separate scam involving “missed” jury duty.