Yesterday I had an email, yes, I know that’s nothing exciting.. But, it turned out to be a scam.

Here’s the email.

Hi Kip,




You are using my client’s image (attached below) in one of your articles https://www.kiphakes.com/2017/01/jamie-oliver-holiday-hunger-a-campaign-too-far.html. We’re glad that it’s of use to you 🙂
There’s no issue if you’ve bought this from our market partners such as Shutterstock, iStock, Getty Image, Pexels, Adobe, Pixabay, Unsplash etc.,

However, if you don’t have the proper license for the image then we request you to provide image credits (clickable link) on your article. Or else this will be against the copyright policy.

Unfortunately, removing the image isn’t the solution since you have been using our image on your website for a while now.

Feel free to ask any questions that you may have.

Honestly, I thought it might be a fair cop. GENERALLY, I will grab any stock photography from Pexels or Pixabay – they offer royalty-free images. I also try to steer towards those that have ‘No Attribution Required’ – so those that don’t require you to link back, or credit the author.

In the past though, I was a bit lazy and just Google Image Search for a picture (yes, I know that’s bad form).

I couldn’t really remember the origins of the particular image – so I just replied –

I BELIEVE it came from Pixabay, but I honestly can’t remember. Let me know where you’d like the link to point to and I’ll get it added!

Thanks

Kip

I had thought that I’d got the image from Pixabay, but it may have not been. I was happy to add a credit and link back. If you are an idiot like me, then you could have someone rightly invoice you for pinching their images. So it’s always good to check the origins and ensure you credit if needed.

I awaited their reply, and was happily going to add the link they sent me.

This morning.. I got this (I’ve starred out the FULL details)

Thank you for replying, Kip.

Can you please give image credit to My *** Station ?

Link: https://my*****station.com/
Credit Name: My ****** Station

It can be anywhere in the article. Just make sure that it’s a clickable link. 🙂

Then.. The penny dropped.

It was a scam.

This was a shady SEO trying to get a link inserted into one of my articles, under the guise of a vague legal threat.

I did a search for the offending picture on Pixabay. It’s here – ‘Free for Commercial Use & No Attribution Required’.

Yup, definitely a scam.

I’m not going to name and shame the company, or link back to them – they aren’t getting any Google juice from me! However, if you get an email from antihamreporter.org (there MIGHT be a meat-based typo in that URL) – be on your guard.

What have I learned from this? Well, I’ve had a stark reminder that my old practice of grabbing images from Google Images was DEFINITELY wrong. Plus, I should have actually checked the image origins after this ‘complaint’. Instead of assume I was wrong.

I’m glad I checked, but I know some people will, like me, instantly assume they are in the wrong and add the link requested. Admittedly, I SHOULD have studied the original email more carefully, and feel daft that I didn’t tell them to fuck off from the get-go. Never mind. Hopefully, my tale of stupidity will help one of you reading this.

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