I've showed you how to spot a fake email in the past, but this one affects an estimated 30,000 Internet users in Germany, and a good portion of them are seeking legal counsel.
The emails seem to come from companies like EMI, Sony, DreamWorks and Paramount and represent artists like Jay-Z, R Kelly, James Blunt and metal band Sepultura. The goal? To get you to pay up to 500 euros for copyright infringement and illegal downloads.
Here's what is says:
This is a warning because of your violation of § 19a of the Copyright Act on 07.06.2014. The music album ‘Bullet For My Valentine – Temper Temper’ was downloaded from your IP address 188.8.131.52 at 3:40:24.
This violates § 19a of the Copyright Act and must be reported to the responsible District Court. Only the fastest possible payment of a fine of 400.88 euros can prevent this. We expect payment within the next 48 hours.
For details see the attached document XXXXXXXXX.zip
It seems like a legitimate email, especially if you download music illegally, but the .zip file is actually a dangerous Trojan horse that can steal your credit card and other personal data connected to online accounts.
What's more alarming is that one law firm's contact information was embedded in the email, forcing the firm to deny any involvement in the scheme.
“The ‘warnings’ are sent under the name of our lawyer Jan Spieldenner. The perpetrator or perpetrators are apparently making use of the fact that our firm regularly sends warnings on behalf of various clients and has thereby acquired a certain reputation. We point out that the warnings provided by us are never sent as a zip file,” the company explains.
This email hasn't yet hit the states, but you'll want to be on your guard none the less. Use this tip to help you spot shady and fake emails.