It seems to be a fact of life that the more visible your website becomes in search engine results, the more spam you are likely to receive. The increase in spam that we may receive may signify that our efforts to increase our online visibility are possibly paying off. However, spam is certainly a nuisance and it can be quite a bit worse.

Among all the creative ways that spam can proliferate spyware, malware, and possibly ransomware, some of the worst ones actually require our action to work.

DCMA

Lately, we have been seeing a particularly concerning example. DCMA is a set of policies designed to protect copyrighted content from being used on the web without permission. DCMA lays out a procedure for a copyright owner to request the removal of any item that is being used improperly. The DCMA notification typically explains the rather severe penalties possible for lack of proper removal of infringing items.

The notifications and requests to remove also identify the content in question. In the case of a written letter, this typically consists of photocopies of the content in question.

DCMA Spam

Lately many of my clients have received DCMA removal requests by email. These email requests often follow the standard format of a legitimate “takedown” request but instead of including images of the content in question, they provide a link that supposedly will show the site owner which content is in question.

Before I go any further,

Social Cindy recommends that you never ever click on an unsolicited link in an email from any entity that you don’t recognize!

So as I mentioned, our clients have reported receiving several of these takedown requests over recent months and the number is rising recently. Social Cindy takes DCMA and intellectual property rights very seriously but these takedown requests via email just did not seem quite right. We sought other ways to try to test the validity of these emails.

One way we go about trying to ferret out legitimate requests is we send an independent email to the sending email address. We also Google the phone number provided and see if it can be tied to the alleged sender. In every case so far, we have found that it is not possible to verify. In all cases, the email sent to the alleged sender has bounced back as undeliverable.

So, we are not attorneys, so we never offer you legal advice in case you ever receive a suspicious message but we do stand by our advice that you never click on an unsolicited link in any email from someone you don’t know.

Websites that keep track of these sorts of “fishing” efforts describe how clicking on blind links might end up planting executable code on your computer that might lead to severe problems such as ransomware attacks. Sometimes fishing emails will simply elicit your personal information under false pretenses.

We can only surmise that at least part of the reason there are so many “spammers” in the world today, is that spamming us must work in some way that is lucrative to the spammer. Regardless of the spamming method attempted, it is vital to develop alertness toward attempts to do you harm using online means. We hope you will share this information and this sentiment with all the members of the team at your firm.

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