Scammers copy anti-piracy tactics

September 8, 2008 | 13:05

Tags: #fraud #lawsuit #piracy #scam #telephone

Companies: #davenport-lyons

With Davenport Lyons sending out numerous letters demanding payment for copyright violations – even to some of our own members, who protest their innocence – it was never going to take too long for a real scammer to latch on to the idea.

According to information obtained by The Register on Thursday, some naughty scamsters have done exactly that: taking a leaf out of Davenport Lyons' book, criminal types have been cold-calling people at random demanding payment to settle accusations of illegal file-sharing out of court. So far, so like what actual legal firms have been doing.

Where the scam differs from the reality is in the method of communication. Jason Clifford, of ADSL provider UKFSN, had one elderly customer contact him to ask why someone had 'phoned up accusing him of sharing copyright material. Clifford relates that his customer was told that the callers “had proof he had been filesharing illegally,” but points out that when customer information is obtained by legal firms under a subpoena telephone contact details are not included: “no ISP would give out a phone number in a legal case.

Scam telephone calls demanding payment are nothing new, of course – I myself remember getting a call offering me a 'free' Californian holiday, but they soon gave up when I asked precisely why my credit card details were required if it was 'free' – but by latching on to the efforts of legal firms, who themselves stand accused of intimidating tactics to extort monies, an air of legitimacy is added to proceedings.

The moral of the story – aside from not sharing copyright content without permission, of course – is to always demand traceable, documented proof before ever handing over cash. In the meantime, if you receive a call demanding money in this manner report it via the Consumer Direct site and through your local police station.

Has anyone here received such a call demanding cash in exchange for safety from court, or is it just Davenport Lyons' letters that are getting our members hot and bothered? Share your thoughts over in the forums.
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