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TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami/NSF) – The Florida Supreme Court is warning about email scams by fraudsters who use fake court letterhead to bilk people out of money.

The scams involve claims of fake inheritances or paying off legal “debts” of someone who purports to be interested in an online romance, according to court spokesman Craig Waters.

The ploys are the latest in a string of court-related online or telephone scams.

Other deceptions include targeting Spanish-speaking people with threats of deportation, professionals over licensing issues or members of the public for allegedly missing jury duty, according to Waters.

Similar scams, which Waters said “have become a significant problem” in recent years, often mention locations in Northwest Florida, such as Shalimar and Gulf Breeze. Many of the potential victims live outside the U.S. and aren’t familiar with Florida law, according to Waters. But Florida courts “never send out real legal notices by email,” Waters cautioned.

“If you get an email asking for money because of some court document or saying you violated a court order or other legal obligation, you should check further before taking any action,” he said.

People seeking more information about potential scams can forward copies of the emails and attachments to supremecourt@flcourts.org.

“The court’s marshal’s office and its legal department are actively investigating all scams that falsely use the name of the Florida Supreme Court or versions of its court seal,” Waters said.

(©2019 CBS Local Media. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The News Service of Florida contributed to this report.)

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