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FRAUD ALERT: "Probe" email scams circulating

We have recently seen an increase in reports of "probe" email scams being received by lawyers. “Probes” are a series of test messages sent by spammers/scammers to determine if there's a live person at the other end opening the email. These emails will often feature logos or other legitimate information in order to appear to be an authentic communication. The goal is to have the recipient respond to the email, then begin an attempt to either “phish” for banking information or other sensitive personal data, or provide links or attachments that, when opened, would infect the user’s computer system with viruses, and in some cases remotely commandeer the victim's computer. An example of the email wording:

Dear Sir or Madam,

This is a test email for [victim's email address].

As always, sensitive personal data and/or banking information should never be shared because of an unsolicited communication. It is best to contact the company or person directly (without responding to that email), in order to independently verify the sender. Links and attachments in unsolicited or unanticipated emails should also not be accessed unless the sender can be positively verified, as they may contain viruses. If a bogus attachment is opened and the user does not have anti-virus software or firewall programs on their computer, their system could be infected.

For tips to avoid being victimized, visit the Fraud section on To report or seek advice on dealing with fraud and scam attempts, contact Cynthia Nield at or 902 423 1300, x346.