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"Phishing Email from “Experienced Illustrator/Photographer” Accusing You of Plagiarism.

Several of my clients have asked me about an email they recently received from a photographer “Melane” claiming they plagiarized her photos and was going to sue them and report them to their hosting company. 

Before I continue, if you’ve received an email like this, do NOT click on any enclosed links! … that is exactly what they want you to do.

After doing some research I was able to confirm that this is a phishing scam email. The wording and content may vary but the goal is the same- to download an infected file to your device or take you to their website where they can do the same. Doing so will let them get control of your device.

This is a link to an article “How to Recognize and Avoid Phishing Scams” on the Federal Trade Consumer Information website. This will help you recognize and protect yourself from phishing attacks.

Although I’ve read there are many versions of this going around, this is the email my clients (and I) received recently:

To: (client’s email address)
Sent: Tue, Mar 9, 2021 3:29 pm
Subject: (this will vary depending on how your account was set up)
ie: Contact Form Entry: (client’s business name)

You’ve just received a new submission to your (Business name – Contact Form.
Mark as Spam (Gail’s note: although I removed the actual link here; in the email this link will take you to their website- don’t click it!)

Submitted Information:

Mel Cox


Phone Number:

Hi there!

This is Melane and I am a certified photographer.

I was discouraged, putting it lightly, when I came across my images at your web-site. If you use a copyrighted image without an owner’s license, you need to be aware that you could be sued by the creator.

It’s not legal to use stolen images and it’s so disgusting!

Here is this document with the links to my images you used at (client’s website url) and my earlier publications to get the evidence of my ownership.

Download it right now and check this out for yourself:  (Gail’s note: again, I removed the actual link; in the email this link will download a file to your device- don’t click it!)

If you don’t get rid of the images mentioned in the document above during the next few 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 help, you may be pretty damn sure I am going to take it to court! And I will not bother myself to let you know of it in advance.

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