Saturday, 5 March 2005

Piracy Phishing

"Phishing" is a growing problem. In a cross between spam and scam, an email designed to look like a legitimate query from eBay, your bank, or someone else you trust purports to alert you to some problem and asks you to visit a web site, type in your name and password, and verify some information. The press has spent a lot of ink on this recently.

I just got caught a phish with an interesting twist. The email I received purports to be from the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA). It accuses me of pirating movies and demands an unspecified payment. Then it provides a link which, I am told, will tell me the exact amount I owe to settle the claims of MPAA. The email is quoted below.

Unfortunately, the MPAA has never heard of the sender, Jack Meihoff, and it also states that it does not handle piracy cases in this manner. Also, the MAC address identified in the email is ficticious, and the domain in the link it points to ( is registered to an entity called LiquidGeneration, Inc., incorporated in Illinois. The only individual person associated with its whois entry is one Bruce Freud. He can apparently be reached at:

Bruce Freud
LiquidGeneration, Inc.
200 E. Ohio, Suite 200
Chicago IL 60611
(312) 573-0123

I can find no mention of Jack Meihoff, Bruce Freud, or LiquidGeneration on MPAA's web site, and Google returns no hits for searches on for those keywords. Very likely, LiquidGeneration wants me to click on the link (which contains a long strong of random-looking characters to verify my email address in its spam database. The email originated from ( Maybe it even has a payment mechanism and would ask me to type in a credit card number. If anyone out there actually cares, you are welcome to investigate the matter further. For my part, I will shortly send an email to the Federal Trade Commission and the California Attorney General with a link to this post.

The email follows:

From: Jack Meihoff
To: [my email address]
Subject: Motion Picture Association of America
Date: Sat, 5 Mar 2005 13:45:36 -0600

Illegal Movie Downloads
Motion Picture Association of America
Encino, California
3/5/2005 1:45:36 PM
Dan Fingerman
MAC ADDRESS: 00-11-2F-41-BD-21
Case No.: IS035HY36NURS0E8

Mr. Fingerman,It has been brought to our attention by John Smythe that you have been involved in the unauthorized downloading and transferring of licensed movies.

Federal laws mandate that you immediately cease and desist all illegal activities pertaining to movie theft. Further, you are required by law to pay all incurred penalties in conjunction with Amendment 34-C, officially passed on January 30, 2005.

In accordance with state jurisdictions, your failure to pay these penalties in full within 30 days of receipt of this notice will result in a warrant for your arrest. We are also required by law to inform you that a second offense will result in a minimum jail sentence of 90 days.

Penalties incurred in your particular case may be reviewed on our government Web site. All cases are deemed confidential. Penalties are assessed by each individual download, charged at a nonnegotiable rate of $1,200 per infraction. Click your specific case number (Case No.: IS035HY36NURS0E8 [link]) to view the total amount due or to dispute your case.

Jack Meihoff Piracy AgentMotion Picture Association of America

Posted at 1:33:34 PM | Permalink
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Topics: Cybercrime, Cyberlaw, IP, Technology
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