Enterprising criminals have apparently decided that former Megaupload users are as good a target as any, and have started sending fake demand letters to people under the guise of a law firm representing rights holders. So far, scammers are using two approaches to target file-sharers: the technical approach (malware and web browser redirects) and the pay-up-or-else-we'll-sue-you letter approach.
A letter making the rounds is from the fictitious German law firm “Dr. Kroner & Kollegen” of Munich who claim to be representing the likes of Universal, Sony, EMI, Warner and Dreamworks. The letter uses fake IP addresses and timestamps supposedly implicating the recipient, though no copyrighted works are ever listed by name. Claiming that the user has downloaded unauthorized copyrighted material from Megaupload, the letter informs them that they are liable for fines of 10,000 euros should the case go to court, but the matter will be put to bed for a mere 147 euros.
Even though the latter claims a German origin, web site OnlineKosten says that the funds end up going to an address in Slovakia.
The second scam uses a malware program, along with the name and reputation of anti-piracy group GVU to demand money from file-sharers. GVU is the same group responsible for taking down Kino.to last year, but they claim they have nothing to do with the malware using its name to exhort money out of people. The malware basically hijacks the target's browser and redirects it to a page which displays a warning that the computer being used has been detected sharing copyrighted material. That message claims to be from GVU and demands that the user send 50 euros to a PayPal account in order to avoid any trouble.
"The sender of this message is not GVU and we clearly distance ourselves from such criminal activities," the anti-piracy group said in a statement.