File-sharers be warned, there’s a new scam floating around which targets Megaupload’s former users, and preys on copyright infringement fears.
Good old extortion is what’s happening here. The federal government’s sudden takedown of Megaupload in January left many uneasy. A fake law firm is now capitalizing on that unease by sending out emails accusing Internet users of downloading copyrighted movies, TV shows and music.
The scam artists are posing as a fake law firm under the heading of the respectable-looking “Dr. Kroner and colleagues” from Munich. They seem to be trolling for anyone scared enough to pay for their illegal Megaupload behavior to stay hidden. Users are threatened with 10,000 euros in fines, but they can make the legal hassle go away for a paltry 147 euros, according to Torrent Freak.
The case is supported by fake timestamps and IP addresses, though the actual items downloaded aren’t named. TF points out that the claim is missing the typical “’cease and desist’ element common to these schemes”. A few inconsistencies include spelling errors, as well as a definition of Megaupload as a “peer-to-peer network.” Another indicator of the claim’s illegitimacy, is Munich Bar Association’s lack of knowledge in regards to a Klaus Kroner and his firm.
The now defunct website was registered to someone living in Austria. If someone actually pays the requested amount, the money supposedly goes to a financial services company based in Slovakia, but it turns out that that the website for that financial services company is registered to the same person responsible for the Munich law firm’s website.
American users should take this as a warning for scams to come. Also know that, as far as the MPAA goes, vice president Howard Gantman has confirmed that the studios will not be suing individual users should the MPAA go after Megaupload for contributing to copyright infringement.