Phishing SCAM Alert: Beware of Fake Email from an “Experienced Photographer and Illustrator” Claiming Copyright Infringement

“Phishing SCAM Alert: Beware of Fake Email from an “Experienced Photographer and Illustrator” Claiming Copyright Infringement”
“August 3, 2020 by Liz Eisworth 188 Comments”

“In the past week, we have received 2 reports from clients about a malicious scammer named “Mel” (“Mellie” in one case and “Melina” in the other) filling out their website form, and very aggressively claiming copyright infringement.

The email arrives via your website contact form and accuses you of using copyrighted website images and asks you to click on a link to see the list of the images that are in violation. (DON’T CLICK THE LINK.) The writer threatens to file a complaint with your hosting company and sue you.

The text of the first scam phishing email was:
Hello there!

This is Mellie and I am a qualified illustrator.

I was baffled, frankly speaking, when I came across my images at your website. If you use a copyrighted image without my approval, you need to be aware that you could be sued by the owner.

It’s illegal to use stolen images and it’s so nasty!

Take a look at this document with the links to my images you used at [website URL] and my earlier publications to obtain evidence of my copyrights.

Download it now and check this out for yourself:

[Redacted link to the phishing site]

If you don’t delete the images mentioned in the document above within the next several days, I’ll write a complaint against you to your hosting provider stating that my copyrights have been infringed and I am trying to protect my intellectual property.

And if it doesn’t work, you may be pretty damn sure I am going to report and sue you! And I will not bother myself to let you know of it in advance.

Phishing Alert: Beware of Fake Email from an “Experienced Photographer and Illustrator” claiming Copyright InfringementSome of the professions the scammer is claiming to be include:
Professional Photographer
Licensed Photographer
Experienced photographer and illustrator
Qualified illustrator
And the sender is going by names similar to “Mel” including:
Mel
Melinda
Melina
Mellie
Melisha
The scammer uses different fake email addresses, fake phone numbers and variations on the last name, as well.

What is the Goal of this Phishing Scam?
The goal is to scare you and get you to click the link which will take you to a file download or a website that likely allows the hacker to seize control of your device (if your device is not protected by sufficient antivirus software to block it).

ConspiracyRevelation: 6.3.2021: His/Her Trick didn´t work…. In this case “Mel” Melitta…

“The hacker may then be able to do one of the following:
Hold your device hostage demanding a ransom
Exploit having access to your machine to compromise your other accounts like email or banking
Inject worms/viruses that infect your machine and use it to launch attacks against others
Take a look at how similar the wording is for the second email one of our clients received this week:
From: Mel [mailto:[REMOVED]]
Sent: Monday, August 3, 2020 12:02 PM
To: [REMOVED]
Subject: Why do you use my images for [REMOVED] without my consent! It’s unlawfully! It violates my rights! You must remove images right now!

From: Mel <[REMOVED]>
Subject: Why do you use my images for [REMOVED] without my consent! It’s unlawfully! It violates my rights! You must remove images right now!

Message Body:
Hi there!

This is Melina and I am a experienced photographer and illustrator.

I was surprised, to put it nicely, when I came across my images at your web-site. If you use a copyrighted image without my consent, you need to be aware that you could be sued by the owner.

It’s illegal to use stolen images and it’s so nasty!

Take a look at this document with the links to my images you used at [REMOVED] and my earlier publications to get evidence of my legal copyrights.

Download it now and check this out for yourself:

[MALICIOUS URL REMOVED]

If you don’t remove the images mentioned in the document above within the next several days, I’ll write a complaint against you to your hosting provider stating that my copyrights have been infringed and I am trying to protect my intellectual property.

And if it doesn’t work, you may be pretty damn sure I am going to report and sue you! And I will not bother myself to let you know of it in advance.


This mail is sent via contact form on [REMOVED]

How to Spot a Phishing Email
Awkward Grammar: Look for awkward grammar and word usage such as “It’s unlawfully!”, in this case.
Check Spelling: Bad spelling is also another red flag.
Hover Over a Link to See the True URL (but NEVER click it): Phishing scams will try to hide the true URL to which the link leads. When you hover, you can see the true destination of the URL, regardless of what the link says.
Be Suspicious of Unsolicited Attachments: Never click on or download an unsolicited or unexpected unusual attachment. Always be suspicious of this.
Don’t Let Them Intimidate You: Phishing email attempts frequently try to elicit an emotional response from you by using inflammatory or threatening language such as the threat to sue you and file a complaint with your host in this example. Another common tactic is to threaten that an account has been suspended or that you have committed a crime or are in violation of an agreement. Always be suspicious and take a beat before acting on any communication that uses threats.
Have you received a similar email via your contact form?
Since we’ve had 2 reports this week, we wanted to spread the word about this scam since it is using a fairly effective scare tactic to use against businesses. Let us know in the comments if you’ve received a similar phishing scam email via the contact form on your website.

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Filed Under: Hack Prevention, Website Security
Liz Eisworth
About Liz Eisworth
As owner and lead designer, I specialize in CSS and HTML(5), designing custom WordPress themes, and optimizing websites for SEO. I built my first website for a business in 2003 and my first WordPress website in 2006. I read a lot and like to write on our digital marketing blog about what I’m learning. Learn more about Liz »”

Source: https://www.sangfroidwebdesign.com/hack-prevention/phishing-alert-fake-email-claiming-copyright-infringement/

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