Showing posts with label Email Scam. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Email Scam. Show all posts

Tuesday, November 22, 2022

Watch Out for This Email Scam Pretending to Be From YouTube Support

If you have a YouTube channel, there is a new (new to me anyway) email scam that you need to be aware of. This scam landed in my inbox earlier today. Fortunately, the scam is so poorly executed that it is rather easy to spot. 

The scam is that someone finds the email address you have associated with the "about" page on your YouTube channel then sends you a PDF by sharing it via Google Drive. The PDF is titled "Copyright Warning" and claims to be from "YouTube Support." However, the email address associated with the shared file is a generic Gmail address. That's the first clue that the email is a phishing attempt. 

Another clue that this was a scam was that in my case, the email address found on my channel's about page is different from the one that I use to actually log into and publish videos on my channel. YouTube support, from whom I have received legitimate emails, will only contact you through the email that you use to log into and publish on your YouTube channel. 

Because I enjoy unraveling scams like these, I made a video to highlight the flaws with the scam and how to avoid falling for it. You can watch the video here on my YouTube channel or as embedded below. 



Applications for Education
I like to take scam email attempts like this one and use them as the basis for short lessons about cybersecurity. Emails the like the one I got today have some tell-tale signs of a scam that are fairly easy to spot. See if your students can spot them.

Some similar scams that I've unraveled in the last couple of years include this one about image attribution and this one also about image attribution from someone pretending to be a lawyer.

Friday, June 17, 2022

Conclusion to the Arthur Davidson Email Scam - Lessons in Context Clues and Motorcycles

Back in March I got an email from someone claiming to be a Boston-based intellectual property attorney working for the law firm of Arthur Davidson. The email was poorly formatted and had some other errors that made me think the email might not be from a legitimate attorney's office. The email also happened to arrive on a day when I was feeling particularly grumpy so I decided to do a little sleuthing to see if I could unravel what I was fairly certain was a scam designed to get me to put a link to a nefarious website on my blog. 

There were a lot of routes that I could have taken to pulling back the curtain on this scam. As you can see in the video that I made about it, I unraveled the scam by using some context clues which led me to then use some research tools including WHOIS lookup, reverse image search, Google Maps, and the Wayback Machine. 

April Update

In April I discovered that a few other folks had gotten the same email from Arthur Davidson and decided to also unravel the scam. So much so that that the scammers switched from using the domain ArthurDavidson.com to ArthurDavidsonLegal.com.

June Update and Conclusion...for now

Just out of curiosity I checked to see if ArthurDavidsonLegal.com was still being used to try to run a backlinking scam. It turns out that the website has been suspended by the host. I'm guessing that enough people or the right person complained to the hosting service and got the site suspended for running a fraud. 

Motorcycles!

If the name Arthur Davidson sounds familiar to you outside of the context of a fake legal firm, you probably have an interest in motorcycles and or you teach U.S. History. Arthur Davidson was one of the founders of Harley Davidson. Did the scammers who set up the fake legal firm of ArthurDavidson.com and ArthurDavidsonLegal.com know who Arthur Davidson was? Possibly. Did they choose those domains to attempt to rank well in search results? Probably, but I have no way of knowing that for sure. 

You can learn more about the real Arthur Davidson and the founding of Harley Davidson Motorcycles in this nice Google Arts and Culture story

Thursday, March 17, 2022

Watch Me Unravel an Email Scam

As you know, I am a huge advocate for teaching students and teachers to respect copyright. To that end I always advocate for using your own media or media that is in the public domain whenever possible. So when an email with the subject line "DMCA Copyright Infringement Notice" landed in my inbox this morning, I immediately opened it. It turned out to be the second attempt by the same person to scam/ threaten me into linking to a website. 

I outlined the basics of a similar scam a couple of years ago. In short, the person emails you to say that you are using an image in violation of their copyright or that of someone they represent (in this case the person was claiming to be an attorney). They then say that you have to link to a particular website within seven days or they will pursue some kind of legal action. 

I was in a particularly bad mood this morning when I received this email so I decided to fight fire with fire. I did a little research on the person who claimed to be an attorney and then told her to get lost! If you're interested in the whole process that I went through, here's the video I made to explain it

In the video you'll see me do the following:

  • Identify the fairly obvious red flags in the email.
  • Show the original image as found here on Pixabay. 
  • Conduct an email trace (this video shows you all the steps). 
  • Uncover that the "law firm" doesn't actually exist. 
  • Discover that the "attorney" probably isn't even a real person. 
  • Conduct a WHOIS look up. 
  • Use the Internet Archive Wayback Machine to view changes in a website.


Applications for Education
If you maintain a website for your classroom, school, or extracurricular club, this is a scam that you might land in your inbox one day. I see it a few times a year and usually just trash the email without a second thought. Today, I was in a particularly grumpy mood and decided to try to turn this scam into a lesson. 


Resources on Copyright