About a year ago I wrote a post :about an email I kept receiving from someone claiming to be Comcast Customer Security Assurance warning me of a potential copyright infringement. Having checked out the notice and spoken to a fraudulent “company representative,” I recommended ignoring such a fraudulent email and obvious attempt to steal my personal and financial information.
I stand by that advice but one of my readers sent in a detailed comment saying that it was the wrong approach. Adrian noted that the copyright alert system is a real thing and that people can get into a lot of trouble for pirating movies. Well, sure it is and certainly they can. That’s why I called to check it out before determining that the whole thing was a phishing scam.
Adrian went on to make some excellent recommendations, which I want to pass on because not everyone would have seen his original comment:
Is the Email Address Legitimate?
“You can normally tell if a service provider’s email is legitimate if you look at the sender’s domain. If it says something like comcast44@gmail then that’s obviously fake. But if the sender is something like firstname.lastname@example.org then you can be sure it’s legitimate. If there any doubts about its legitimacy you can contact customer care from the official 1 888 number located on their website or your account under “contact us.” Explain your reason to calling then they’ll transfer you to the department appropriate to handling these notices.”
What Happens Next?
“At three notices they’ll finally slap you in the hand a bit and force you to sign some legal documents that could potentially be used against you in court. At four notices you may be need to take some sort of test to see if you can distinguish what’s legitimate use and what’s not. Again, this test can be used against you in court should it come to that.
“At five and six you may need to verbally speak to a rep over the phone as well as have your internet usage throttled or have certain sites blocked from your connection. The only sites you would really have access to at this point are social media, YouTube, and email services among others known to not have infringing content.
“Blogs like this or forums will definitely be blocked. The very last step is possibly terminating your service and agreement and adding your name and information to a blacklist that will be shared with other providers. Once on that blacklist your speeds can be throttled at any service provider you go or even have service refused to you.”
Should I Be Concerned?
“All of these steps will be used to build a case against you if the studio’s deem it necessary. Should a studio wish to file some type of an infringement claim on you they only need to file a subpoena to get your info from the service provider.”
Adrian’s advice is, I think, a good approach. Had I not checked — and had the email been legitimate — I could have been in trouble, even if I hadn’t downloaded the movies—which I had not done. I download no movies, ever.
So I take back my advice on ignoring the notice and urge you to protect yourself. By all means investigate and determine whether there is any legitimacy to the claim of infringement. Then, if you have been engaging in risky activities like pirating movies, get yourself a good lawyer. You’ll probably need one.