This new-ish scam seems to target anyone with a business website, that is, organizations, corporations, businesses, freelancers, etc. The scammers send a warning note through the website contact form or via the stated contact email address. The note contains a warning that the website owner allegedly violated the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) by using copyrighted images. As webmaster of the Northern California Translators Association, I have received several such messages in recent weeks. The scam message contains a link that then downloads a virus and/or ransomware onto your computer.
The full content of the message reads:
Subject: Re: ncta.org Dmca Copyright Violation Notification
My name is Nancy.
Your website or a website that your company hosts is infringing on a copyright protected images owned by me personally.
Take a look at this official document with the hyperlinks to my images you utilized at ncta.org and my previous publication to obtain the proof of my copyrights.
Download it now and check this out for yourself:
https://firebasestorage.googleapis.com/v0/b/storage-729af.appspot.com/... [Note: Warning, do not click!!!]
I do think you've intentionally violated my legal rights under 17 USC Section 101 et seq. and could be liable for statutory damage as high as $150,000 as set-forth in Section 504 (c) (2) of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) therein.
This letter is official notification. I seek the elimination of the infringing materials described above. Please be aware as a company, the DMCA requires you, to eliminate or disable access to the infringing materials upon receipt of this notice. In case you don't cease the use of the above mentioned infringing content a court action can be started against you.
I do have a strong self-belief that use of the copyrighted materials mentioned above as presumably infringing is not approved by the legal copyright owner, its legal agent, or the legislation.
I declare, under penalty of perjury, that the information in this letter is accurate and that I am currently the copyright proprietor or am permitted to act on behalf of the owner of an exclusive right that is presumably infringed.
The name, address, and phone number of the person are completely phony. Our diligent NCTA Administrator tried calling the phone number that “Nancy” listed, which turned out to not exist. We have received similar messages with the same text, but sent under different phony names.
How can you tell that this is a scam?
I myself have sent DMCA warnings to some people using copyrighted content from this website to impersonate my business. However, I know for a fact that none of the images on my website violate anybody’s copyright.
Further, it simply makes no sense at all to send one’s own copyrighted images again in a file to somebody who allegedly violates that copyright. Why would one send that person even more of those images, including the originals, in a file to download? If the copyright of any of my content was violated, I would point out the places where the copyright is violated on the violating page, not send them the originals.
What can you do?
Nothing, pretty much, because the sender’s contact info is false, and the download URLs listed in the message keep changing. Do not, under any circumstances click on the link in the message, which should go straight into the trash. Copyright secured by Digiprove © 2021 Carola F Berger