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Internet Strategy

Scam Alert: “Your Website Is Using My Copyrighted Images”

Mike McGovern | May 5, 2021

“Your website is using photography you stole from me.”

Have you received a message like this through a contact form on your website? You’re not alone.

This type of scam has been on the rise recently. And it IS a scam.

What You Need To Know:

  • It is not legitimate.
  • It is a phishing scam.
  • Do not click the link they provide!

Here’s what the scam message usually looks like (click to enlarge):

Image scam email

The Scam Basics

Scammers are using your contact form to try and scare you into believing you’re using their copyrighted photography on your website.

What They Want
They want access to your computer and files.

The “Evidence”
Their “proof” of copyright infringement is a link to a Google Drive folder with apparent photo evidence. DO NOT CLICK THIS LINK! It will likely install malware or a virus onto your computer.

Image spam link

Other Suspicious Elements of the Scam

Name & Email Address

Typically, they use an email address with numbers in it and aol.com or yahoo.com as the email domain. “Mel” seems to be a popular name choice.

Copyright image scammer info.
Copyright image scammer info.

Phone Number

Google the phone number. If you find zero or scant results, it’s a sign the number is likely fake.

Copyright image scam phone number search results.
Copyright image scam phone number search results.

What Can We Do To Stop It?

Unfortunately, not much other than to ignore it.

This is likely a human-driven scam, meaning reCaptcha won’t block them from submitting the contact form. reCaptcha only blocks bot-driven spam.

Google recaptcha