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Warning: Court Related Scams

Scam Emails About Phony Court Cases Carry Computer Virus


The federal judiciary has learned of an email scam, in which emails purporting to come from federal and state courts are infecting recipients with computer viruses.

According to the Security Operations Center of the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts, the emails are instructing recipients to report to a hearing on a specified day and time. The emails also instruct recipients to review an attached document for detailed case information. When the attachments or links in the email are opened, a malicious program is launched that infects the recipient's computer. Several state courts have reported similar schemes, and also are warning the public about potential viruses.

Unless you are actively involved in a case in federal court and have consented to receive court notifications electronically, you generally will not be served with court documents electronically.

If you receive an email regarding a federal court case or matter of which you are unaware, you should contact the federal court in your jurisdiction before opening any attachments or links. Use the court locator to find your court's contact information.


Bogus Phone Calls on Jury Service and Criminal Arrest Warrants May Lead to Fraud


In various parts of the United States, citizens are being targeted by phone calls and threatened with prosecution for failing to comply with jury service in federal or state courts. In addition, the court recently has heard of other scams involving a fictitious arrest warrant on a criminal charge being sent to an individual with an offer to avoid arrest through the payment of a specific amount.

In the calls, the threat of a fine for shirking jury service is used to coerce those called into providing confidential data, potentially leading to identity theft and fraud. These calls are not from real court officials. Similarly, a valid arrest warrant would never include an offer to avoid arrest through payment of money via credit card.

Federal courts do not require anyone to provide any sensitive information in a telephone call. Most contact between a federal court and a prospective juror will be through the U.S. Mail, and any phone contact by real court officials will not include requests for social security numbers, credit card numbers, or any other sensitive information. Similarly, the validity of an arrest warrant can be verified by contacting the Clerk of Court or the United States Marshals Service without providing confidential data.

Jury duty is a vital civic responsibility and should be taken seriously by all citizens. However, it is a crime for anyone to falsely represent himself or herself as a federal court official. The federal judiciary takes seriously such an offense.

Persons receiving such a telephone call should NOT provide the requested information, and should notify the Clerk of Court's office of the U.S. District Court in their area. For the Southern District of Illinois, call the office of Acting Clerk of Court Justine Flanagan at 618-482-9373.

If you have questions regarding jury duty or the jury process, please call our Jury Office at (618) 482-9160.

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