Ignore That Notice of Copyright Infringement

Digital Millennium Copyright ActYesterday I was checking email when I found a message, supposedly from Comcast Customer Security Assurance that was a “Notice of Action under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.” Hmm, what could this be?  It included an “Abuse Incident Number” and a report date and time.  I read further and discovered that someone had supposed downloaded three movies. Here’s what it looked like:

 

Copyright work(s) identified in the notification of claimed infringement:

Infringing Work: Bottoms Up
Filename: Money talks – Carrie – Bottoms up
Infringement Date: 2014-07-16T20:01:27Z
Infringement Type: Movie
Infringement Method: P2P
IP Address: 24.62.226.214
Reporting Party: support@cegtek.com
Reporting Party Case: P82468103
Reporting Party FAQ: null

I couldn’t imagine either of us downloading any of these three movies: they’re old and not our taste in films. Curious I called the number given in the email and spoke with a representative who called himself Rob but had a heavy Indian accent.  Well, that’s not uncommon in offshored call centers so I spoke with him—but carefully. I was sure this was a scam but I wanted to see how they were running it.

When I told “Rob” that no one in my home had downloaded these materials he suggested that someone in my neighborhood had hacked into our home network to do so. We live in a 55+ community and our neighbors are mostly folks who use their computers only for email and shopping. Our network is also security enabled. But grandchildren do visit and anything is possible so I kept talking to him.

When I asked “Rob” to check into the location of the offending IP address, he told me that they did not have tools to do anything like that. This sounded very fishy for one of the country’s largest service providers.  While we were talking, I ran the IP address through WordFence on my WordPress site but got no information back.

Find your computer’s IP address

He then asked me to log into my @comcast account.  I was already in email so I just clicked on my account information and waited for his next step.  “Rob” now suggested that I might have to provide my account number, Social Security Number, and phone number to clarify the situation.

Red Alert, Star Trek, Star Trek: the Next Generation, Starship Enterprise

Red Alert!    Red Alert!    Red Alert!

But I was still in the Comcast website that I had logged into that morning so I wondered exactly how he was going to get me, his potential victim, to provide my confidential information. Sure enough, he directed me to the “box at the top of the page” where the Comcast URL appeared. He told me to delete it and type in the address he was going to give me over the phone. Really. As if I didn’t know that would take me to an entirely different website–the one they had set up to run the scam.

At that point, I laughed, told him that wasn’t going to happen and hung up.

Practice Safe Computing

How many people, do you think, would have known not to do what he told them?  How many people, frightened by the official-sounding notice of copyright infringement, would have depended on “Rob” to help them out of the situation? And how many would then have had their identities—and money—stolen? It’s the perfect scam: scare them, help them, take their money.

Shortly after I returned home from my recent trip to Alaska, I received a notice from American Express that someone had made a transaction with the card not present. I had made several of these during the trip, through CheapOAir and Expedia but none since I came back. The charge had been made that morning for $90 and I knew that I had not purchased anything that day. So I called American Express and challenged the charge.

Fraudsters are everywhere these days and it’s up to us to be vigilant.  As Willy Loman said in “Death of a Salesman,” attention must be paid. And we all have to protect ourselves.

So don’t be frightened by scams like this one. Read your bills and find out what’s going on. Above all, do not provide your account numbers and / or your Social Security Number to anyone over the phone or through email.  Lots of people, like some doctor’s offices, ask for your SSN without any real need to have it. I refuse to do that, too.They don’t need it and you don’t need to give it to them. Trust no one.

And if you get an email that tells you someone in your household has violated the Digital Millenium Copyright Act, just laugh and delete it.  Now go forth and practice safe computing.

Just FYI, here’s the full text of the email:

Notice of Action under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act

Abuse Incident Number:      Not Applicable
Report Date/Time:           2014-07-16T20:01:27Z

SETH KAPLAN
STREET ADDRESS
CITY, STATE, ZIP

Dear Comcast High-Speed Internet Subscriber:

Comcast has received a notification by a copyright owner, or its authorized agent, reporting an alleged infringement of one or more copyrighted works made on or over Comcast’s High-Speed Internet service (the ‘Service’).  The copyright owner has identified the Internet Protocol (‘IP’) address associated with your Service account at the time as the source of the infringing works.  The works identified by the copyright owner in its notification are listed below.  Comcast reminds you that use of the Service (or any part of the Service) in any manner that constitutes an infringement of any copyrighted work is a violation of Comcast’s Acceptable Use Policy and may result in the suspension or termination of your Service account.

If you have any questions regarding this notice, you may direct them to Comcast in one of the following formats:

        Comcast Customer Security Assurance
        Comcast Cable Communications, LLC
        1800 Bishops Gate Blvd., 3rd Floor East Wing
        Mount Laurel, NJ 08054 U.S.A.
        Phone: (888) 565-4329
        Fax: (856) 324-2940

For more information regarding Comcast’s copyright infringement policy, procedures, and contact information, please read our Acceptable Use Policy by clicking on the Terms of Service link at http://www.comcast.net.

Sincerely,
Comcast Customer Security Assurance

Copyright work(s) identified in the notification of claimed infringement:

Infringing Work: Bottoms Up
Filename: Money talks – Carrie – Bottoms up
Infringement Date: 2014-07-16T20:01:27Z
Infringement Type: Movie
Infringement Method: P2P
IP Address: 24.62.226.214
Reporting Party: support@cegtek.com
Reporting Party Case: P82468103
Reporting Party FAQ: null