by Andrew Jacobson

From Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository

If you receive a "court notice" via email, don't open it -- it is a scam designed to add to your computer malware designed to get you to give over control of your computer to somebody else.  We started receiving these a few weeks ago, but it may only just have started getting past your spam filters.

Most courts are still pleasantly 19th century -- they require that you either be personally served with the starting documents of a case (a summons), or if a case has already begun, they provide you with mailed notice, or in the case of federal cases, you or your lawyer have to sign up for electronic case filing . Courts cannot give first notice via email.

If you were unlucky enough to have been duped, run an up-to-date malware removal tool on your computer. Malware is different from a computer virus, so your anti-virus software may not catch malware. A lot of good malware removal tools s are free, such as Malwarebytes or Microsoft's free malware removal tool.