Scammers are up again with a new phishing scheme. As copyright holders send harmless takedown notices for an unauthorized downloads, scamsters have recently started to add fake fines to these takedown notices. Now consumers see messages from their ISPs asking them to pay fines in order to avoid legal procedures.
Earlier this month, TorrentFreak was notified of a takedown notice that Lionsgate supposedly sent to a Cox user for downloading an unauthorized copy of the movie Allegiant. The subscriber was asked to pay a fine of $150 to avoid lawsuit. However, neither the rights holder Lionsgate nor its anti- piracy tracking company IP-Echelon is aware of such a “fine”.
IP-Echelon informed TorrentFreak that the DMCA notice was a scam. The link provided in the notice is not held by IP-Echelon and the fine, if paid, would go directly to the scammers. TorrentFreak has alerted Cox Communications about such false notices, but it is not sure whether any other ISPs have fallen for the same fraud.
IP-Echelon and its clients are taking the matter seriously. They definitely don’t want their name to be used by scammers. They informed that IPE notices are signed with PGP for checking whether they are genuine. ISPs should check the PGP signature well before forwarding any notice to their users.
Interestingly, subscribers who haven’t done unauthorized downloads are also receiving such scam messages. One such subscriber has asked about the matter in the ISPs support forum. “I know your email, if real, said not to contact you but I am not sure what to do. I don’t want to give into a scam or if real pay for something I didn’t do,” the user wrote. The US law enforcement is also investigating the case.
At first sight, the email may look so real that it could fool the security officials. But if any internet subscribers receive a settlement demand, they should check whether they are legitimate before paying it directly.