(XENIA, Ohio) – Clerk of Courts Terri A. Mazur is warning Greene County residents of bogus (court related) emails containing a virus are being sent, posing as a ‘Notice of Hearing’ or an appeal being filed in a court case. Residents are reporting such bogus emails to her office.
In one case, a Greene County resident called the clerk of courts office to verify the legitimacy of a “Notice to Appear” they had received via email. In reality, the email was a scam and the resident was advised not to open the email and delete it. The clerk herself has received two similar emails, most recently with a virus attached. Both emails cited a case number and said it was from the ‘Clerk of court’ to make the email appear authentic.
“The majority of courts in Ohio do NOT serve via email,” states Mazur, “So please call your clerk of court’s office, both municipal and common pleas, before opening any unexpected emails that pose as a court related matter.
Clerk of Courts Terri Mazur also reminds residents of recent spoofing phone calls made by scammers, making threatening debt collection calls of unpaid court costs and fines. Using current technology and a practice called “spoofing,” scammers can clone or disguise the number that appears on an individual’s caller ID. The caller ID may show the phone number of the Clerk of Courts or another government entity, when the call is actually coming from a scammer in another state or even out of the country.
Clerk of Courts Mazur provides Greene County residents with the following tips to protect themselves:
• Remember most Ohio courts to do not serve documents via email, so contact your clerk’s office to verify the authenticity before opening an email. It may contain a virus.
• The Clerk of Courts will not call you and threaten to arrest you. If you are receiving debt collection calls, ask the caller to send you written verification of the debt. If you don’t receive written verification, you likely do not owe the debt.
• Don’t trust the number that appears on your caller ID. It may be a spoofed number, so
when in doubt, hang up and call the number back to verify who placed the call.
• Don’t give out personal or financial information to anyone who contacts you unexpectedly by phone or email.
Individuals who receive suspicious emails or calls from any government agency should report the potential scam to the Ohio Attorney General’s Office at 800-282-0515 or www.OhioAttorneyGeneral.gov.