Have you ever received a message that started something like this?
“Hello! My name is Ann. Your website or a website that your company hosts are violating the copyrighted images owned by me personally.”
Oh, noes! I violated a copyright. Ann is going to sue me! I need to send this to my web team ASAP.
No. Stop. Don’t. Just Delete the email.
Ann is not real. Ann doesn’t own any copyright in any images. Ann simply wants someone to click on the Google link to load their malware into your browser. Don’t click on the link or forward the email.
New Copyright Scam
There is a new phishing scam out in the wild. We were just sent this message and some of our clients started to get this message via their contact forms.
Previously, these scams were sent to the email addresses directly but were eventually tagged as spam and blocked. Now the scammers have moved on to using contact forms on websites.
Do NOT click on any links in the email. Do not reply. Do not forward. Just delete.
The Full Copyright Scam Letter
Here is an example of what the full letter looks like:
Comments: Hello! My name is Ann. Your website or a website that your company hosts is violating the copyrighted images owned by me personally. Take a look at this report with the URLs to my images you utilized at www.waleslawfirm.com and my earlier publication to find the evidence of my copyrights. Download it now and check this out for yourself: https://sites.google.com/view/[some-random-account]/d/shared/0/download/file?f=[some-random-file] In my opinion that you willfully violated my legal rights under 17 U.S.C. Sec. 101 et seq. and could possibly be liable for statutory damage of up to $150,000 as set forth in Sec. 504 (c) (2) of the Digital millennium copyright act (”DMCA”) therein. This letter is official notice. I demand the elimination of the infringing materials referenced above. Please take note as a company, the DMCA demands you, to remove or terminate access to the infringing materials upon receipt of this particular notification letter. If you don’t stop the utilization of the above mentioned infringing content a law suit can be started against you. I have a strong self-belief that utilization of the copyrighted materials mentioned above as allegedly infringing is not approved by the copyright proprietor, its legal agent, as well as laws. I swear, under penalty of perjury, that the information in this message is accurate and that I am the legal copyright proprietor or am certified to act on behalf of the proprietor of an exclusive right that is allegedly violated. Best regards, Ann Hill 05/28/2021
At first glance, you are probably thinking “oh shoot”, did I infringe on a copyrighted image of poor Ann? I need to forward this to my web team and ask what images they put on my website. Don’t. There is no point. Ann is fake and you should just delete it.