False Court Summons Used as Front for Computer Viruses - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

False Court Summons Used as Front for Computer Viruses

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YAKIMA, Wash. -

If you're in the Yakima area, you'll want to be on the lookout for an email from someone named 'Brandon Cain' with the email address brandon.cain@bucknall.nl. The sender poses as a district clerk and the email talks about being called into court and is part of a scam that puts a virus in your computer if you open an attached file.

"A lot of them have the 'you have been summoned to court, if you don't appear, someone's gonna come and get you'. They're all aimed at one thing which is to get the user to open the email and click on the link." says Yakima County technical services director George Helton."The most recent thing we're seeing, they're called phishing emails. It's done with social engineering, so what they're trying to get someone to do is click on a link."

The email demands money or has a threatening message of an arrest possibility, but it also comes with an attachment...

Yakima Networking manager Ethan Wood has seen his fare share of viruses come into his store. For his, seeing his customers fall victim to these scams is all too common.

"If you get a zip file, unless it's from somebody you specifically know about, it's probably not safe to open... the first thing you want to do when you get an email that you think is not legitimate is look at the email address. The last three letters on the back will tell you where its coming from. If it's a gov, it's a government address. In this case it was an 'nl' address, which is from the Netherlands. That's not legitimate if you're getting a court date notification"

But the real problem is the frequent occurrence of the scam virus emails. They come around often, and they prey on victims that will usually have to pay a ransom once their computer is infected..

"Some bad actor out there has decided he's gonna send people stuff saying this is from the court because it scares them. When they get frightened they want to comply.” said Helton

Just a few quick tips to spot any other virus scams like the Brandon Cain one. If it has a file attachment, do not open it. and if you question whether or not it comes from the court, always be sure to call them first.