It appears that scammers have decided to try to scare people into clicking their links and downloading their malware or viruses by claiming to be “certified photographers” and saying that your website contains their images.
The latest batch of scam messages are sent from someone claiming to be Mel or Melinda and normally have a reply email address like Melnikon2818@hotmail.com or another Hotmail or disposable untraceable email address.
Below is the latest email we have received with this scam, this one was via our Virtual Swanage website but I have also received them via my blog and my main business website. They are always sent via the website's contact or enquiry forms.
This is Melinda and I am a certified photographer. I was discouraged, frankly speaking, when I came across my images at your website. If you use a copyrighted image without an owner's consent, you should know that you could be sued by the owner.
It's against the law to use stolen images and it's so wicked!
Take a look at this document with the links to my images you used at www.virtual-swanage.co.uk and my earlier publications to obtain the evidence of my ownership.
Download it now and check this out for yourself: <LINK REMOVED>
If you don't delete the images mentioned in the document above during the next several days,
I'll file a complaint against you to your hosting provider informing them that my copyrights have been severely 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.
The most important thing is Do Not click the LINK or download any files from the email.
A good indication that this type of email is fraudulent is one or more of the following:
- The contact email is often a disposable email such as Hotmail, Yahoo, Gmail etc.
- The message will contain phrases which have spelling mistakes, are badly written or have bad grammar.
- The email never tells you which image or page they are referring to.
- The email will ask you to download or open documents or other files from a third-party website.
- If you Google one or more of the sentences from the message you will find other matches with reports of spam or malware such as “It's against the law to use stolen images and it's so wicked!”
Several of our clients have also received these emails and have contacted me to ensure that the images used on their websites are all ok. None of them has clicked the malware links but unfortunately, many people do fall for this type of scam.