02 Jul 2012

UK Phishing Scam Exploits Digital Economy Act

Several phishing e-mails that exploit government anti-piracy plans have started to spread in UK, according to consumer rights campaigners.

Just days after UK officials discussed introducing the Digital Economy Act (DEA), which will eventually see warning letters sent to persistent “pirates”, phishers invaded inboxes with fake DEA letters demanding money for copyright breaches.

Though the governmental law specifies “pirates” will receive at least three warning letters before getting any fine, scammers exploit the idea from a new angle, asking directly for money.

“I received this email accusing me of copyright infringement and demanding £50,” said writer and technologist Becky Hogge.

”The Open Rights Group has published the full text of the email. This happens only three days after Ofcom published plans to notify users suspected of copyright infringement. I wonder how many people will be taken in by similar scams?”

Though filled with Spamglish mistakes, the fake warning was designed to look like an official government letter.

“Attention, your Internet access has been used to commit illicit acts, notified by a penal infraction,” the phishing attempt read.

“Indeed, your Internet access was used to make available, reproduce or access copyrighted and protected materials. This allow [sic] illegal consultation and reproduction of the materials without the authorization of their respective owners. In order to solve this issue, it is demanded to you to proceed to the payment of a fine to avoid further legal pursuits.”

To add an official look to the bogus letter, scammers put links to the Digital Economy Act formal documents.