Fraud Alerts

Are you being scammed?

tl;dr If you get a message stating your company is infringing or violating copyright-protected images owned by themselves, it is a scam. You haven't committed copyright infringement. This is an attempt to place malware/ransomware on your computer or extort you for money. Do not click the link. Do not call the number listed. Delete it and move on.

The internet is full of scams. And for website owners, the scams can be more targeted than the standard phishing attacks. The most prevalent scam right now is the image copyright scam. (see many examples below)

Email Phishing:

FIRST, never click a link in an unsolicited email. If you don’t know the person or the company, delete it. If you have clicked these links, it is likely that your computer may have a virus, malware, or a worm.

This may be where you’re thinking “But I have antivirus software installed so I’m fine.”

Antivirus software only works as well as its user. Like the lock on your door, if you don’t use it or leave it unlocked, your home isn’t protected. If you let the malware in, how can the protection be? It can’t.

For example, you receive a receipt for a Norton antivirus renewal for $399.99. But you didn’t sign up for it so you want to call and have it refunded. In this email, there will be a convenient number to call. Or there will be a link to click which will allow you to cancel and receive the refund. These are phishing scams. When you call the number, they’ll direct you to do something that doesn’t make sense such as buy gift cards to pay for the refund. How do you pay for a refund? Or, they may have you share access to your computer. Or, they may have you provide your bank account information. These are signs of a scam.

Image Copyright Scams:

There are companies that will come after you for copyright issues. These are large, known companies such as Pixsey or Getty. These companies specialize in royalty-free images. It makes sense that they would come after someone using their property. So how do you know if the email you received is from a legitimate company?

First, look at the grammar. You can tell a lot by grammar. Take a look at this opener from a “demand letter”:

“Hello, Your website or a website that your company hosts is infringing on a copyrighted images owned by our company (hubspot Inc.). Take a look at this official document with the hyperxs to our images you used at www.yourdomain.com and our previous publications to get the evidence of our copyrights. Download it now and check this out for yourself:”

The first sentence states “…is infringing on a copyrighted images” You don’t have to be a grammar wizard to know that this doesn’t sound right. And it’s not. “a copyrighted” implies single yet the email uses the plural “images“.

The next sentence begins with “Take a look at this official document…Does that sound “official”? Does it sound like the type of verbiage you would expect to see in an official demand? The simple answer is, no.

Finally, look at the last sentence. “Download it now and check this out for yourself“… Again, does this sound official, or does it sound like the type of verbiage you expect to see in a social media ad?
This email is a scam.

Next, look for links such as storage.googleapis.com within the email. This will prompt you to download an image. It may seem harmless but it’s really a way to install malware or tracking on your computer via this link. Never click these links.

How do you protect yourself from these scams?

NEVER click on any links in any email unless you know the person or company.

NEVER call any numbers listed within any emails unless you know the person or company.

Use Google Apps for your email service, even your company email. They have amazing anti-virus and anti-scammer email protection. Sign up here for Google Apps.

Go directly to the company’s website and call the number on the website and they will tell you if the email is legitimate.

Look at the address from which the email is sent.

Here are a few examples of “demand” letters for images.

Inquiry: Website Questions
Name: Khari
Phone: 9174300882
Email: KhariVazquez@hubspot.com
Comments:
Hello, Your website or a website that your company hosts is infringing on a copyrighted images owned by our company (hubspot Inc.). Take a look at this official document with the hyperxs to our images you used at structure.ticketcms.com and our previous publications to get the evidence of our copyrights. Download it now and check this out for yourself: https://storage.googleapis.com/thp3op7t1nry20.appspot.com/fl/k/public/0/filejKbB02NAMTx2.html?h=773058176382915264 I believe you’ve willfully violated our legal rights under 17 USC Sec. 101 et seq. and can be liable for statutory damages of up to $140,000 as set-forth in Sec. 504 (c) (2) of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (”DMCA”) therein. This message is official notice. I seek the elimination of the infringing materials described above. Please take note as a service provider, the DMCA demands you to eliminate and/or deactivate access to the infringing content upon receipt of this particular notification letter. If you don’t stop the use of the aforementioned copyrighted materials a lawsuit will likely be started against you. I do have a good self-belief that utilization of the copyrighted materials mentioned above as allegedly violating is not approved by the copyright owner, its agent, as well as laws. I swear, under consequence of perjury, that the information in this message is accurate and hereby affirm that I am permitted to act on behalf of the proprietor of an exclusive right that is allegedly violated. Very truly yours, Khari Vazquez Legal Officer hubspot, Inc. hubspot.com 05/09/2022

Inquiry: Website Questions
Name: Siddharth
Phone: 7186893841
Email: SiddharthPossin@zoho.com
Comments:
Hello, Your website or a website that your company hosts is infringing on a copyrighted images owned by our company (zoho Inc.). Check out this official document with the URLs to our images you utilized at structure.ticketcms.com and our earlier publications to get the proof of our copyrights. Download it right now and check this out for yourself: https://storage.googleapis.com/jxyf6gyeulc1s7.appspot.com/dw/file/s/public/h/0/fFsXV1WFZ4snC.html?l=250375994359376415 I believe you’ve willfully violated our legal rights under 17 U.S.C. Section 101 et seq. and could be liable for statutory damages 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 notification. I seek the elimination of the infringing materials mentioned above. Please be aware as a service provider, the Digital Millennium Copyright Act demands you to remove and deactivate access to the infringing content upon receipt of this notice. If you don’t stop the utilization of the aforementioned infringing content a court action will likely be initiated against you. I do have a good self-belief that use of the copyrighted materials mentioned above as presumably infringing is not authorized by the legal copyright owner, its legal agent, or the legislation. I swear, under penalty of perjury, that the information in this notification is accurate and hereby affirm that I am certified to act on behalf of the owner of an exclusive and legal right that is presumably infringed. Sincerely yours, Siddharth Possin Legal Officer zoho, Inc. zoho.com 04/18/2022

Inquiry: Website Questions
Name: Boyke
Phone: 7189789825
Email: BoykeIcyblue@intuit.com
Comments:
Hello, Your website or a website that your company hosts is violating the copyright protected images owned by our company (intuit Inc.). Take a look at this document with the xs to our images you used at structure.ticketcms.com and our previous publication to find the proof of our copyrights. Download it now and check this out for yourself: https://storage.googleapis.com/thp3op7t1nry20.appspot.com/fl/k/public/0/fK2xaebEAH4eY.html?l=986540617173663537 I do think that you deliberately infringed our legal rights under 17 USC Sec. 101 et seq. and could be liable for statutory damage as high as $110,000 as set forth in Sec. 504(c)(2) of the Digital millennium copyright act (”DMCA”) therein. This letter is official notice. I seek the removal of the infringing materials described above. Take note as a service provider, the Dmca demands you to remove or/and deactivate access to the copyrighted materials upon receipt of this notice. In case you don’t cease the use of the aforementioned copyrighted content a law suit can be started against you. I have a good faith belief that utilization of the copyrighted materials described above as allegedly violating is not authorized by the copyright proprietor, its agent, as well as legislation. I swear, under consequence of perjury, that the information in this notification is correct and hereby affirm that I am permitted to act on behalf of the proprietor of an exclusive right that is allegedly violated. Best regards, Boyke Icyblue Legal Officer intuit, Inc. intuit.com 05/09/2022

Inquiry: General Inquiry
Name: Eric
Phone: 2121323951
Email: EricLiu@intuit.com
Comments:
Hello, Your website or a website that your company hosts is infringing on a copyright-protected images owned by our company (intuit Inc.). Check out this report with the xs to our images you used at YourDomain.com and our earlier publication to obtain the evidence of our copyrights. Download it right now and check this out for yourself: https://storage.googleapis.com/thp3op7t1nry20.appspot.com/fl/k/public/0/f6X9nyQTjrkLq.html?h=301040191071977059 I believe that you deliberately infringed our legal rights under 17 USC 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 seek the removal of the infringing materials referenced above. Please be aware as a service provider, the Digital Millennium Copyright Act demands you to eliminate or deactivate access to the copyrighted materials upon receipt of this particular letter. If you do not cease the utilization of the previously mentioned copyrighted content a court action can be started against you. I have a good faith belief that use of the copyrighted materials described above as presumably infringing is not permitted by the copyright owner, its legal agent, as well as laws. I swear, under consequence of perjury, that the information in this letter is accurate and hereby affirm that I am authorized to act on behalf of the owner of an exclusive right that is presumably infringed. Very truly yours, Eric Liu Legal Officer intuit, Inc. intuit.com 05/10/2022

Name: Bryan
Phone: 2124992021
Email: BryanWashburn@intuit.com
Comments:
Hello, Your website or a website that your company hosts is violating the copyrighted images owned by our company (intuit Inc.). Take a look at this official document with the xs to our images you used at YourDomain.com and our previous publication to find the proof of our copyrights. Download it now and check this out for yourself: https://storage.googleapis.com/oieqeh1cxwnd81.appspot.com/bl/file/sh/0/fZHui6MEvz54c.html?f=418966359637674324 I do believe you have willfully infringed our legal rights under 17 U.S.C. Sec. 101 et seq. and can be liable for statutory damage of up to $140,000 as set forth in Sec. 504 (c)(2) of the Digital millennium copyright act (DMCA) therein. This message is official notification. I seek the elimination of the infringing materials referenced above. Please be aware as a service provider, the DMCA requires you to eliminate and deactivate access to the copyrighted content upon receipt of this notice. In case you do not stop the utilization of the previously mentioned copyrighted content a legal action can be commenced against you. I have a strong faith belief that use of the copyrighted materials described above as allegedly infringing is not permitted by the copyright owner, its agent, or the law. I declare, under consequence of perjury, that the information in this notification is correct and hereby affirm that I am permitted to act on behalf of the owner of an exclusive right that is allegedly violated. Sincerely yours, Bryan Washburn Legal Officer intuit, Inc. intuit.com 05/10/2022

Do you really think MailChimp would mess with an image copyright notice? They buy their images from image providers or make their own.

Name: John
Phone: 2128536832
Email: JohnAnaya@mailchimp.com
Comments:
Hello, Your website or a website that your organization hosts is violating the copyright-protected images owned by our company (mailchimp Inc.). Take a look at this official document with the xs to our images you used at YourDomain.com and our previous publications to obtain the proof of our copyrights. Download it now and check this out for yourself: https://storage.googleapis.com/oieqeh1cxwnd81.appspot.com/bl/file/sh/0/fEMYK2NvAqwGG.html?f=112707260751598337 I do think you’ve intentionally infringed our legal rights under 17 USC Section 101 et seq. and could possibly be liable for statutory damages as high as $140,000 as set forth in Section 504 (c) (2) of the Digital millennium copyright act (”DMCA”) therein. This message is official notice. I demand the removal of the infringing materials described above. Please take note as a service provider, the Digital Millennium Copyright Act requires you to eliminate or terminate access to the copyrighted content upon receipt of this letter. In case you don’t cease the use of the aforementioned infringing materials a law suit can be commenced against you. I have a strong faith belief that utilization of the copyrighted materials mentioned above as allegedly infringing is not approved by the legal copyright owner, its legal agent, as well as law. I swear, under penalty of perjury, that the information in this message is accurate and hereby affirm that I am authorized to act on behalf of the owner of an exclusive right that is presumably infringed. Best regards, John Anaya Legal Officer mailchimp, Inc. mailchimp.com 05/10/2022

Inquiry: Website Questions
Name: Lorenzo
Phone: 2121229340
Email: LorenzoSuganda@zoho.com
Comments:
Hello, Your website or a website that your company hosts is infringing on a copyright protected images owned by our company (zoho Inc.). Take a look at this report with the xs to our images you utilized at YourDomain.com and our earlier publications to obtain the proof of our copyrights. Download it right now and check this out for yourself: https://storage.googleapis.com/thp3op7t1nry20.appspot.com/fl/k/public/0/f5GBE84WyL4r2.html?d=479909002231547684 I believe you have intentionally violated our legal rights under 17 U.S.C. Section 101 et seq. and can be liable for statutory damages as high as $130,000 as set forth in Section 504(c)(2) of the Digital millennium copyright act (”DMCA”) therein. This message is official notification. I seek the elimination of the infringing materials described above. Please be aware as a service provider, the DMCA requires you to remove and terminate access to the infringing materials upon receipt of this particular letter. If you do not cease the utilization of the above mentioned infringing materials a court action will likely be commenced against you. I do have a strong belief that use of the copyrighted materials described above as presumably infringing is not approved by the legal copyright owner, its legal agent, or the legislation. I swear, under consequence of perjury, that the information in this message is correct and hereby affirm that I am authorized to act on behalf of the owner of an exclusive right that is presumably violated. Very truly yours, Lorenzo Suganda Legal Officer zoho, Inc. zoho.com 05/10/2022

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