U.S. District Court Subpoena

Is the U.S. District Court sending out subpoenas by e-mail?

Phishing bait:   A United States District Court is sending out subpoenas via e-mail.

Example:   [Collected via e-mail, April 2008]

From: United States District Court
Date: Monday, April 14, 2008 8:33 AM
Subject: Subpoena in case #29-809-RYM

AO 88 (Rev.11/94) Subpoena in a Civil Case


Issued by the


Issued to: John Smith
John Smith Construction Co., Inc


Case number:
YOU ARE HEREBY COMMANDED to appear and testify before the Grand Jury of
the United States District Court at the place, date, and time specifiied


United States Courthouse
880 Front Street
San Diego, California 92101

Grand Jury Room
room 5217

Date and Time:
May 7,2008
9:00 a.m. PST

Issuing officers name and address: O'Mevely & Meyers LLP; 400 South Hope
Street, Los Angeles, CA 90071


download the entire document on this matter (follow this link) and print it for your record.

This subpoena shall remain in effect until you are granted leave to depart by the court or by an officer on behalf of the court.

Any organisation not a party to this suit thas is subponaed for the taking of a deposition shall designate one or more offcers, directors, or managing agents, or other persons to testify on its behalf, and may set forth, for each person designated, the matters on wich the person will testify. Federal Rules of Civil Procedures,20(b)(6).

Failure to appear at the time and place indicated may result in a contempt of court citation. Bring this subpoena with you to the courtroom and oresent it to the bailiff. Direct any questions to the person requesting you to appear: City Prosecutor.

Origins:   On 14 April 2008, Internet users began receiving messages like the one reproduced above, e-mails purporting to be subpoenas commanding the recipients to appear before a grand jury in a U.S. District Court. The messages were a phishing scheme that targeted business executives (a tactic known as "whaling") and attempted to lure recipients into downloading and installing software that recorded their keystrokes and allowed their computers to be controlled remotely.

The U.S. Courts system is already aware of this scheme and has posted an advisory alert on its web site:
Notice: Invalid Subpoenas

Reports have been received of bogus e-mail grand jury subpoenas, purportedly sent by a United States District Court. The e-mails are not a valid communication from a federal court and may contain harmful links. Recipients are warned not to open any links or download any information relating to this e-mail notice. The emails were sent from a uscourts.com address. The federal Judiciary's email address is uscourts.gov. Law enforcement authorities have been notified.
Last updated:   5 May 2008

  Sources Sources:
    Chapman, Glenn.   "Hackers Harpoon US Executives with Phony Email Subpoenas."
    Agence France Presse.   5 May 2008.

    Markoff, John.   "Larger Prey Are Targets of Phishing."
    The New York Times.   16 April 2008.

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