Dutch Govt Agency Warns Against Fake ‘Piracy’ Fines

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The Dutch Government's Telecom Agency is alerting the public that its name is being abused by scammers to demand piracy fines. In a warning issued today, it recommends recipients not to respond to these emails. It appears that scammers are capitalizing on the news that rightsholders may soon start sending 'fines' to alleged pirates.

It is no secret that copyright holders are monitoring unauthorized downloads around the world.

In most cases this results in harmless takedown notices but increasingly, these warnings are triggering settlement demands or automated fines.

Rightsholders in the Netherlands are planning similar action. Dutch Filmworks initially said it would send the first settlement demands last Autumn but a year later, this is yet to happen.

Local anti-piracy group BREIN also announced a similar effort, targeting frequent seeders. This campaign isn’t live either.

Considering the above, it came as a surprise when several people received emails demanding a ‘fine’ over alleged illegal downloading in recent days. The emails in question claim to be from the Dutch Government’s Telecom Agency (Agentschap Telecom), which carries some weight.

The emails may look pretty legitimate, especially to people who are unfamiliar with these type of demands, but the Telecom Agency issued a warning today which explains that they are fake.

“There appear to be fake emails in circulation that supposedly come from the Telecom Agency. These are fake e-mails regarding fines for illegal downloading of films. These are bogus e-mails. They are not from the Telecom Agency,” the warning notes.

“Have you received such an e-mail? Do not respond to the message, do not click on any links and never leave your details behind.”

It appears that the scammers are using the news that ‘fines’ will soon be sent out to alleged pirates to add legitimacy to their efforts. Interestingly, this isn’t the first time that this has happened.

Last year we reported on a similar scheme where fake piracy fines were sent out, supposedly on behalf of Dutch Filmworks. This was a scam as well and the movie distributor advised recipients to throw the letters in the trash.

“There is a fake letter in circulation. This letter is NOT sent by Dutch Filmworks. Do not pay and throw the letter away,” the movie Dutch Filmworks warned at the time.

Being a Government agency, it’s unlikely that the Telecom Agency will ever send out piracy fines. These are more likely to come from rightsholders or their representatives.

How far along BREIN and Dutch Filmworks are with their real ‘fine’ schemes remains unknown.


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