HMCTS issues warning on phishing scam

Users report being sent 'penalty charge emails'
Pixabay

By Sam Trendall

14 Oct 2020

HM Courts and Tribunals Service has warned citizens to be on the lookout for email fraud being perpetrated in its name.

The agency said that it is "aware of a number of email phishing scams that are in circulation" in which members of the public are informed of a "penalty charge notice". The messages - which bear the logo of HMCTS - instruct recipients that they must pay the amount requested or they will be taken to court.

The courts service said that it "does not issue penalty charge notices" and that, moreover, all its messages are sent from an email address ending in @justice.gov.uk. 

"If in doubt, hover over the email address to see the true identity," HMCTS said. "If you receive an email on a phone, you can check the address by clicking on ‘display name’."

The agency added that citizens should also consider whether the subject line uses incorrect spellings, numbers or capital letters to try and circumvent spam filters, as well as checking if they are addressed by name or as 'dear customer'.

"Spelling errors and different font sizes within the email body or the document can indicate that the email is not genuine," it said.

Anyone receiving what they believe to be a phishing email should not reply or click any links, but should instead contact Action Fraud.

Sam Trendall is the editor of Civil Service World's sister title Public Technology, where a version of this story first appeared.

Read the most recent articles written by Sam Trendall - Final performance: what the closure of the government’s Performance Platform means

Share this page
Read next