'Dear Citizen': This E-Mail is Not From the Justice Dept.

The Justice Department issued a public alert about fraudulent spam e-mails addressed to "Dear Citizen."

The e-mails purport to be from the Department of Justice, and claim the recipients may be the subject of complaints filed by the department and forwarded on to the Internal Revenue Service.

The e-mails may include a phony case number and mention a complaint "filled" [sic] by a Mr. Henry Stewart." A Department of Justice logo may also appear in the fraudulent e-mail.

Similar spam hoaxes have been discovered in the past, using the names of other government agencies to trick users into opening e-mails which could be harmful.

The alert also warns that attachments to the e-mails, that purport to come from government agencies, may contain malicious software or spyware, which could damage computers or steal information.

The department warns recipients of e-mails that appear to be hoaxes not to open attachments to the e-mails and to delete them immediately.

The Justice Department urges those who receive hoax e-mails to contact the FBI's Internet Crime Complaint Center at www.ic3.gov.