Recently we received a fill out through our contact form that was quite concerning to us so we decided to post on our website about it in hopes of helping at least one other person. The submitted information contained the following message:
"Hello, This is Melonie and I am a qualified photographer and illustrator. I was confused, to put it nicely, when I found my images at your website. If you use a copyrighted image without an owner's consent, you need to be aware that you could be sued by the copyright holder. It's illegal to use stolen images and it's so wicked! Take a look at this document with the links to my images you used at sigma1.com and my earlier publications to get the evidence of my copyrights. Download it right now and check this out for yourself: REMOVED LINK FOR YOUR SAFETY If you don't get rid of the images mentioned in the file above during the next few days, I'll file a complaint on you to your hosting provider stating that my copyrights have been severely infringed and I am trying to protect my intellectual property. And if it is not enough, trust me I am going to take legal action against you! And you won't receive the second notice from me."
This type of scam is designed to scare the website owner or reader into clicking the link in hopes of resolving a potential lawsuit. Do not click on it! These types of links typically have malware or other types of malicious software.
When we design websites for not just ourselves but for our clients, we ensure that we either use royalty-free images/videos or we directly purchase the rights.