Not your Everyday Case
Juries love the Police

Internet Fraud and Service of Process

During my first year of law school, in Civil Procedure, we discussed whether e-mail should be a valid way to serve someone with process.  I thought it was a great idea.  Almost everyone in class agreed. I've changed my mind.

Internet thieves and spammers are becoming extraordinarly sophisticated.  Two days ago I received the below email from "[email protected]."  Though Google told me that it might be spam, I was a bit upset when I read the e-mail, as I wondered what I did wrong.  Here is the e-mail:

Dear PayPal member,

We regret to inform you that your PayPal account has been suspended due to concerns we have for the safety and integrity of the PayPal community.

Per the User Agreement, Section 9, we may immediately issue a warning, temporarily suspend, indefinitely suspend or terminate your membership and refuse to provide our services to you if we believe that your actions may cause financial loss or legal liability for you, our users or us. We may also take these actions if we are unable to verify or authenticate any information you provide to us.

Due to the suspension of this account, please be advised you are prohibited from using PayPal in any way. This includes the registering of a new account.

The fastest and the most efficient way of becoming unsuspended is by clicking on the link below, login into your account and provide us additional information.

Please note that any seller fees due to PayPal will immediately become due and payable. PayPal will charge any amounts you have not previously disputed to the billing method currently on file.

I logged into my PayPal account today: It has not been suspended.

Anyhow, due to threat of viruses, I - and many others - never open an e-mail from an unrecognized sender.  Thus, service through e-mail would not be effective, since most of us would delete such e-mails.  Moreover, giving the advances in internet thievery, would any of us believe that we were actually being sued?  Or would we instead think that this was another way for people to obtain our personal information?