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Scam involving fake court notices showing up in Portage County


STEVENS POINT, Wis. (WSAU) -- An email scam tactic meant to scare people into action to avoid legal trouble has spread to Portage County.

Clerk of Courts Patricia Baker says a series of fake emails are being sent urging recipients to click on the link to get a formal court notice.  “Other counties have been getting these for many months, I’d say probably a year actually, and the counties where it happens most commonly are Washington County, Lincoln County, counties that exist in every state in the country.”

Baker says don’t believe it, and absolutely don’t click on the email link or attachment.  “Portage County has gotten hit with a wave of these, and everybody that calls to complain or to ask, ‘Do I have a court date? Does my child have a court date? Does my husband or wife have a court date?’ I’m telling them all the same thing. Don’t click on it. Don’t open anything. It’s malware, a worm, a virus, it’s something bad.”  She says if the courts need to find you and deliver documents, it will never ever be delivered by email.  “Petitions and initial summons are frequently delivered by an officer, however, our regular court notices are always delivered by U.S. Mail.”

The Clerk of Courts is giving people the same message passed on by many computer experts, law enforcement officers, and consumer protection agencies.  “If you don’t recognize the name, if you don’t recognize where it came from, don’t ever open an email that you don’t know the person that sent it.”