INTERNET service providers are reportedly being targeted by a new phishing scam related to Game of Thrones pirates that is more extensive than previously thought.
The fraudsters are peppering various ISPs around the world, including Australia, with copyright infringement notices and settlement demands in hope the ISP will pass it on to its customers.
According to Torrent Freak, the fake notices are being sent to ISPs in the US, the UK and Australia with the scammers claiming to be working on behalf of right holders, including HBO.
Phishing scams are attempts by criminals to trick people into supplying their personal information such as bank account numbers, address, passwords and credit card numbers.
The tactic has become increasingly popular among cyber criminals and is a technique used with growing sophistication.
In recent weeks more than 22,000 Telstra customers have received a convincing phishing scam in the form of a fake e-mail bill telling customers they paid a bill twice and are therefore eligible for a refund.
Such scams typically aim to get people to volunteer their personal information or otherwise can urge targets to click a link infected with malicious software known as malware.
This latest Game of Thrones scam was first detected last month when US internet service providers notified authorities.
According to Torrent Freak, while most ISPs realised it was a scam others have forwarded the notices on to their customers.
The website published a copy of the phishing e-mail. The professional looking document accuses an account holder connected to an IP-address of illegally downloading the show.
“You have 72 hours to access the settlement offer and settle online. If you fail to settle, the claim(s) will be referred to our attorneys for legal action. At that point the original settlement offer will no longer be an option and the amount will increase as a result of us having to involve our attorneys,” the e-mail reads.
The scam has reportedly caused confusion because HBO’s piracy monitoring firm IP-Echelon do send take down notices, however they are not accompanied by settlement threats.
“They seemed believable at first because they were sending notices about customers who we are accustomed to seeing a high volume of torrenting complaints about,” an IP-Echelon employee said.
For the past decade copyright holders have become increasingly vigilant in monitoring illegal downloads of their content. Initially this resulted in take-down notices demanding ISPs remove access to the unauthorised content.
But rights holders have been ramping up the fight and are increasingly inclined to bundle such notices with automated fines.
In Australia, this practice culminated in a long fought legal battle when the rights holders of the film Dallas Buyers Club tried, and failed, to get ISPs to hand over the personal details of customers who had been identified as having illegally downloaded the film.