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Beware of Email Phishing Scam: Photographer Claiming Copyright Infringement

There is a current phishing scam going around that fills out a website’s online form and claims copyright infringement against the website. We have seen a few of these come through and have had a few clients ask about it. We want you to be aware so you can avoid a disaster.

This scam has been around for a few years; however, it recently started targeting contact forms on WordPress sites. The email arrives via your website contact form and accuses you of using copyrighted website images. It then asks you to click a link to see the list of images that are in violation. DO NOT CLICK THE LINK. The writer threatens to file a complaint with your hosting company and sue you.

How to recognize this phishing scam

The sender always goes by “Mel” or a similar name containing it:

  • Melinda
  • Melina
  • Mellie
  • Melisha

The sender uses variations of the professions, like:

  • Professional photographer
  • Licensed photographer
  • Experienced photographer or illustrator
  • Qualified illustrator
Phishing Scams affecting websites

What is the goal of this email?

The goal is to scare you and get you to click the link which will take you to a file download or a website that likely allows the hacker to seize control of your device (if it is not protected by sufficient antivirus software). The hacker can then hold your device hostage demanding a ransom, gain access to other accounts from your device such as email or banking, or inject viruses that can infect your machine and launch attacks on others.

What to do if you receive an email like this

Don’t let them intimidate you. Phishing emails frequently try to elicit an emotional response from you by using inflammatory or threatening language, such as the threat to sue you and file a complaint with your host in this case. Another common tactic is to threaten that an account has been suspended or that you have committed a crime or are in violation of an agreement. Always be suspicious and take a breath before acting on any communication that uses threats.

If you receive this email phishing scam or any other email scam, simply delete it. Do not click any links in the email!

For WebDrafter clients

All artwork, photos and content on websites we create (that are not directly from the client) are sourced from a reputable royalty-free media company, which we have paid to reuse the materials on your behalf. You can rest assured no illegal material is being used on your website.

How WebDrafter can help

We want to protect you. Being aware of scams like this and learning how to recognize them is the first step. We discuss more about phishing scams in our blogs on cybersecurity and email scam alerts. Additionally, we set up a new email account – – where users can forward any questionable emails for us to check. We can then let you know if it’s a scam.

If you have additional questions about email security and phishing scams, feel free to contact us.