A number of people have reported receiving a scam email from the Portage County Circuit Court in the past couple of days for fake court hearings. A view also tells NewsChannel 7 she received a similar 'scam' email from the Marathon County Courthouse.
Trish Baker, Portage County Clerk of Circuit Court reports that the office began receiving telephone calls about the fake court notices on Monday morning at 8:00 a.m. Numerous people have called the office stating they have received the fake emails telling them to report to court. The recipients have been calling to ask if they have a court date coming up – or ask if the email is legitimate.
“Apparently, the email notice states that there is a court hearing coming up and what the date and time of the hearing is” said Baker. And they include the warning “if you fail to appear the judge will make a decision about your case without you”.
There have been many email scams in the past year across Wisconsin about court hearings. However, they seem to be occurring primarily in counties with common names like “Washington” and “Lincoln” County. Portage County has escaped the problems until now.
“These notices are not legitimate court notices for Portage County Circuit Court”, said Baker. We do not send out notices via email except in very rare occasions, and that would only occur if we arranged with that person ahead of time to contact them via email. The emails are more then likely an attempt to install malware on someone’s computer. They should be deleted immediately and not kept on the computer. “In no circumstances should the person open any links in the email”, said Baker.
“We use old fashioned United States Mail service to send out paper notices, in addition to our RSVP volunteers who call defendants in criminal cases to remind them to come to come to their court hearings”. Citizens can also look up their court information on-line at http://wcca.wicourt.gov, as well.
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