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Court Notice Scam

Scam:   Malicious code loaded onto computers via court notice fraud.


Example:   [Collected via e-mail, March 2014]

Notice of appearance,

Hereby you are notified that you have been scheduled to appear for your hearing that will take place in the court of Ontario in April 18, 2014 at 09:45 am.

You are kindly asked to prepare and bring the documents relating to the case to court on the specified date.

The copy of the court notice is attached to this letter. Please, read it thoroughly. Note: The case may be heard by the judge in your absence if you do not come.

Yours truly,
MCLEAN POWERS
Clerk to the Court.
 

[Collected via e-mail, February 2014]

Eviction notification,

You are hereby given notice that you are in breach of your tenancy of the premises you currently occupy.

To remedy the breach you have to quit the premises within the following four weeks.

If you fail to comply you will be physically removed and fined for up to 100 minimum monthly wages.

Detailed information is attached herewith.

Court secretary,
BROWNING Mccray
 

Origins:   Our first sighting of this scam came in December 2013. Since then, it has been hitting inboxes everywhere, including ones in the UK. Those running the fraud are using a template, merely slotting in different cities, dates, times, and fake names of the purported signatory:
Hereby you are notified that you have been scheduled to appear for your hearing that will take place in the court of [city] in [date] at [time].

You are kindly asked to prepare and bring the documents relating to the case to court on the specified date.

The copy of the court notice is attached to this letter. Please, read it thoroughly. Note: The case may be heard by the judge in your absence if you do not come.

Yours truly,
[name]
Clerk to the Court.
The purpose of the con is to provoke the unwary into attempting to determine the nature of the legal matter by clicking on or downloading the attached "copy of the court notice" mentioned in the e-mail. In either case, those who fall for the trick will view what appear to be court documents, but in the background — unbeknownst to them — malware will be simultaneously loaded onto their computers.


The malware being installed is Kuluoz, a nasty bit of work that installs FAKEAV, another bit of malware. FAKEAV flashes false security alerts that lure victims into purchasing fake antivirus software, then connects to its affiliate network to download SIREFEF/ZACCESS and TSPY_PAPRAS variants. SIREFEF is a malware known for its rootkit capabilities, while TSPY_PAPRAS sniffs for passwords in network packets and sends them to a remote site.

The bottom line? Don't click on attachments in scary-sounding e-mails lest you open your computer to crooks who will access all your personal information, such as passwords, credit card numbers, and bank account details.

Barbara "don't 'court' danger" Mikkelson

Last updated:   28 March 2014

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Sources:

    Hutchinson, Derick.   "Email Scam Using Fake Court Summons to Target Victims."
    ClickOnDetroit.com.   17 January 2014.

    Sayid, Ruki.   "PC Scam: Don't Get Court Out."
    Daily Mirror.   6 February 2014   (p. 26).

    Xiong, Chao.   "Warning: E-mail Scam Orders People to Come to Court."
    Star Tribune.   23 December 2013.

    Beverley Guardian.   "Notice to Appear in Court is a Scam Warns Watchdog."
    6 February 2014.