Spam warning from Department of Justice

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The Department of Justice is warning the public of spam e-mail messages that claim to emanate from its agency.

According to the warning, complaints have been coming in regarding fraudulent messages that are addressed "Dear Citizen."

The messages are believed to assert that the recipients or their businesses have been the subject of complaints filed with Department of Justice and also forwarded to the Internal Revenue Service.

In addition, such e-mail messages may provide a case number, and state that the complaint was "filled [sic] by Mr. Henry Stewart." A Department of Justice logo has even appeared at the top of the e-mail message or in an attached file. And the message may also include an attachment that supposedly contains a copy of the complaint and contact information for Mr. Stewart.

The Department of Justice is telling all recipients that it did not send these unsolicited e-mail messages. Similar hoaxes have been recently perpetrated in the names of various governmental entities, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Federal Trade Commission, and the Internal Revenue Service.

The government warns that e-mail users should be especially wary of unsolicited warning messages that purport to come from US government agencies directing them to click on file attachments or to provide sensitive personal information.

Computers that receive these spam e-mail messages may be put at risk simply by an attempt to examine these messages for signs of fraud. It is possible that by double-clicking on attachments to these messages, recipients will cause malicious software to be launched on their computers.

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