Photographer Scam Targeting Website Owners

When you own a website, you can be a target for scam. The scam described in this email is comes from someone impersonating a photographer, accusing the website owner of using their photos without permission.

Have you received an email message that starts like this?

Hello there!

This is Meleena and I am a certified photographer.

I was discouraged, to put it nicely, when I recognised my images at your web-site. If you use a copyrighted image without an owner’s permission, you’d better know that you could be sued by the copyright owner.

It’s not legal to use stolen images and it’s so сheap!

The email goes on to ask the recipient to click on a link.

Why this is a Scam

Well, there are several clues that this is fraudulent. Here are a short list of clues:

  • We don’t have photography certifications in the US. A US photographer would have phrased it like this. “I am a professional photographer.”
  • The spelling of “recognised” is the British spelling.
  • You are asked to click on a link. NEVER DO THIS!
  • The tone is more like something you would receive from your crazy aunt than from a certified or professional photographer.

Now, I don’t know the goal of this scam. It could be simply a phishing attempt, but it also could be outright fraud to steal your money. If you were to respond, there could be a demand for cash to avoid a lawsuit.

Don’t Make Yourself a Target

I knew this was a scam immediately because I only use royalty-free artwork on my websites. However, if I wasn’t so careful, my guilty conscience would have made me more liable to fall for this scam.

It is very important to note that you should only use your own images or royalty free images on a website. I find great free images at When I can’t find what I need there, I go over to, where I can purchase royalty-free images for around $2.

If you receive an email that doesn’t seem right, the first thing to do is go to Google Search, and search for the first paragraph of the email. If you find it, you know something is up.

Other scams targeting website owners

Another common scam targeting website owners is send via the mail. The letter instructs you to renew your domain through them, but they are actually trying to get you to register your domain through a higher priced service. You should pay less than $16 a year for a domain, including free privacy services.

Let us know if you need help with any potential online scams! We are here to help.