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Court summons scam

CRIMINALS have come up with an ingenious new scam that is designed to frighten you into taking immediate action.

  The scam is delivered by email and is made to look like a “notice to appear in court” summons and millions of these emails have been sent out worldwide.

  It alleges you have to appear in court because of mis-use of software and businesses and residents in Chelmsford and other areas of Essex should beware of this latest, dangerous scam.

  The email is bogus, but once you open it an attachment releases a Trojan Horse virus that takes over your computer and steals all your personal information including bank details, date of both and credit card details. That could be costly..

  The Trojan Horse virus gives cyber crooks full remote control of the computer - from anywhere in the world - and lays bare every sensitive detail on it.

  What makes this summons appear all the more genuine is that the fraudsters are hijacking names of real court officials to panic internet users into opening the malicious file which contains the virus.

  Claiming to be from the court clerk, the fake email says all the relevant details are in the attachment which should be read “thoroughly”.

  And it adds: “If you do not attend the hearing, the judge may hear the case in your absence.

It is signed L McNamara, Clerk to the Court.”

  Millions of scam emails are believed to have been sent out worldwide reaching countries like India and Australia as well as right across Europe. These have all been traced to a server in America by the Business Crime Reduction Centre (BCRC) , a Yorkshire-based organisation that works alongside the police and security specialists.

  The details vary in each email but have general key messages aiming to frighten people into clicking before thinking. BCRC’s cyber security specialist, Mark Connell, said:

  “Provoking a panicked, impulse reaction has become a very common scam technique for cyber criminals. Opening the attachment allows the criminal to spy on the victim, use their computer to commit crime, or steal personal and financial information.

  "This email is difficult to block as the subject headers change frequently.”

It is now urging anyone who receives an email with “notice to appear in court” in the subject box to contact Action Fraud on its hotline number 0300 123 2040.