This scam is so prevalent right now, this is just one of the reasons why I think it’s so important to raise awareness of it. First and foremost, this is almost certainly a scam. There are only a small handful of ways it could be an actual threat, which we will discuss a bit later here. Regardless, we know as lawyers the way to sue someone is not through a filtered email. 

Nonetheless, it's a terrifying email to receive. 

We don’t want to make light of the fact that the licenses, privacy, and usage rights incorporated into the materials you use do matter. It is incumbent on each of us to know we have the legal right to use what we put on our print and integrated digital media collateral. If you don’t know, that is the first step here. You need to be absolutely sure that you own your content or have a right to use it in the format that you choose to use it in.

Let’s dive in and address three key things you need to know right now as it relates to this scam.

1. You cannot use images you don’t own. To follow up on the above statement, take a minute this weekend to read the terms and conditions surrounding the images you use. What does the license say? Do you have the absolute right to use them how you see fit? If not, what are the limitations?

Further, are you working with a marketing company? It is time to ask it important questions. What does your contract say with the marketing agency? If this claim proves to be true, where is the blame? Is it on you? The agency? Does the agency have a plan to address issues like this? You need to know where you stand. 

2. You need to know the terms and conditions surrounding the images that you use. Contrary to popular belief, you can’t just download something from the internet. Just because something exists on Google or Yahoo or Facebook or Bing, does not mean you have the right to use it. Do you have a public license? Do you have a business license? For print, do you have a redistribution license, and for how many publications?

3. You need to stop responding to email that is going to subject you to ransomware or other cyberattack. When you read this email, concerning as it is to receive, you probably knew deep down it was a scam. What did you do next, though? Did you react? Did you respond? Did you contact the person? Or did you report it to the authorities? The latter is the only step to take here. If you need to who to report it to, just ask us. The main players are the FBI Cybercrimes Division, your state’s Attorney General’s Office, and the Better Business Bureau.

This is just the first part of this conversation. We plan to send out an email next week too with our ABCs of Cyber Security as it seems a very appropriate time to dive into as a cyber refresher. We are also putting together an updated Cyber Threats Webinar and will let you know the date and time. Stay tuned!

Here at Practice42, we can help to tailor your materials and processes to best suit your needs.  Let us help! We encourage you to call us at 850-933-5072 to schedule a free Strategy Session with our team to find out more about what we can do for you.

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