Individuals who used the services offered by the now-defunct Megaupload may receive notification letters, apparently originating from copyright holders, in which they are informed that their finances could suffer dearly if they don’t pay a certain amount of money.
According to TorrentFreak, the scammers impersonate a law firm that represents companies such as Universal, Sony, Paramount and EMI.
Of course, situations in which copyright holders try to scare users into making cash settlements to avoid a lawsuit are not new, but it turns out that crooks also see an opportunity in these practices.
In one of the notification letters, one that targets users from Germany, a law firm called Dr. Kroner & Colleagues informs the recipient that he/she is liable to pay a 10,000 EUR ($13,000) fine for downloading pirated content. The alternative is a smaller payment of just 147 EUR ($192) which can allegedly resolve the entire situation.
Also, the “lawyers” only accuse the recipient of copyright infringement, but they provide any details regarding the content that was actually downloaded. Further analysis of these emails made by OnlineKosten revealed that the money actually ends up somewhere in Slovakia.
Other scam variations rely on GVU’s reputation, but in these scenarios it’s much worse because a piece of malware is utilized to scare users.
The malicious element hijacks the victim’s browser so that it displays only a fake notification that will presumably disappear only after a certain amount of money is paid via PaySafeCard.
The anti-piracy group even released an advisory to warn people regarding the existence of these schemes.
When confronted with such threats, internauts are advised not to panic. Usually such scams are covered by security solutions providers and other websites which means that a simple search should reveal if the claims are true or not.