The Quick and Dirty Guide to Getting Rid of Scammers
I finally got one of those course scammers to take down my course
One of my courses was listed on a dodgy course sales website without my permission so I went to work…
Here's how I did it: (this is not legal advice BTW just my quick and dirty version - check with a legal professional about how to do this properly)
1. Set up Google alerts
It's good to keep an eye out on who is talking about you online!
I have alerts set up for my name and my course names. A few times a month, I get notified of a scam website that sells my course.
I find some people buy it and download everything and a few are just scammers
2. Take screenshots (including the URL in the image)
Sometimes people will deny it, so it’s a good idea to have evidence.
You can also go to the Way Back Machine and save the page for future proof https://archive.org/web/
3. Send a Cease and Desist letter
You can google templates or buy them but it's usually just reminding them of your intellectual property rights, and basically telling them "I SEE YOU"
Include the URLs and screenshots.
Find my script below.
Most will ignore these but step #4 is usually effective. It’s basically "I'M GONNA TELL ON YOU"
4. Report them to all their tech suppliers
I honestly think this is the only thing that works.
I hunt around their sites to find their tech suppliers, customer service software, payment providers etc, and CC them in an email with screenshots reminding the company of their T&Cs.
See below for a template.
I look for LiveChat, their domain registrar, their course software, domain hosting, social media.
You can find that by clicking around, adding things to a cart, reloading the page (keep an eye on the button in the left-hand corner and see what companies are mentioned as it's loading).
You can also right click on any website to view its source code (right click and choose inspect), then do a find search for .com or .net addresses.
Look for a login button to find their course software (but a lot of these scammers are tech savvy and cheap and build their own).
You can look up their domain registrar on https://who.is and sometimes get an email address but they often mask it.
A lot of tech companies have dedicated places to report intellectual property theft but I also search for a physical email address so I can cc the scammers on an actual email (when in doubt, email info@, support@)
CC everyone in the email - their GRANDMA too!
Honestly - hit them where it hurts - if they're in another state or country, you can't really do much legally and they know it - but it's annoying to get their customer chat shut down.
(Thank you LiveChat for actioning this for one site!)
Adding third parties into the mix brings shame and exposure.
It's just human nature to hate being told on.
5. Expect denials
You'll hear back "oh, we didn't know we weren't allowed to copy" or "you didn't say we couldn't resell".
I've even heard "I was in hospital and my assistant must have done this" – whatever way people justify it, it's against the law to copy someone else's intellectual property.
They know they're doing wrong. You know they are. They're just chancing it.
And also - how pathetic to set up a business with other people's intellectual property.
Again, this isn't legal advice - you'd probably never pursue this further - it's to tell them I SEE YOU!
6. Don't take it personally
Stuff like this will happen - it's not a big deal and to be honest, most of the time I ignore it.
It will take about 30-60 minutes to pull up your C&D, change the names and hunt around for the tech companies' T&Cs - so it's not always worth your time - but sometimes you'll have energy for it!
7. Don't steal other people's work
This includes sharing login details or materials from the courses you do - or ever being tempted to buy a pirated copy.
I'm sure you don't! But these sites are NOT harmless - it's just gross to buy someone's course and then sell it.
It's also why we have stricter money-back guarantees on courses.
Please don't be annoyed if you do a course and you want to race ahead before the refund period is up - we have to protect the content otherwise, people buy a course, download it ALL and then ask for a refund - it happens ALL THE TIME.
8. Keep going!
Don't be scared about doing this - it's just a rite of passage!
You can choose to ignore it, or chase it up.
You can go hard on these scammers or just send a half-hearted, I SEE YOU email.
Keep creating and doing good work!!
9. Please share this!
If this has been useful to you, share with your biz groups!
P.S I’ve included my email scripts below - please remember this is NOT legal advice - check with someone about how it works for your state and country.
Email Script 1:
Dear (TECH COMPANY),
I'm issuing a DMCA takedown request for SCAMMER SITE, one of your customers that steals copyrighted works and is in violation of your terms and conditions.
My trademarked course: www.DeniseDT.com/Bootcamp - a body of work I've been teaching since 2012, is being sold (or likely phished) by SCAMMER SITE here: https://SCAMMER SITE.net/courses/denise-duffield-thomas-money-bootcam-2020/ and my Manifesting course here: https://SCAMMER http://SITE.net/.../denise-duffield-thomas-advanced.../
They use TECH COMPANY to allow customers to leave “reviews” of their stolen work, thus giving credibility to their theft.
This is a reputational risk for your company when scammers like SCAMMER SITE freely use your site’s reviews to scam people.
It's also against your terms and conditions as outlined on this page: www.TECHCOMPANY.com/TC
As a condition of your use of the Websites and Online Services, you will not use the Websites or Online Services for any purpose that is unlawful or prohibited by these Terms.
I'm sure you'll agree that by stealing copyrighted information and courses, SCAMMER SITE are not following the law.
You should immediately terminate SCAMMER SITE as a client effective immediately, as per your own Terms and Agreements.
I'm prepared to take this further onto social media and I would appreciate your assistance in taking a stand against scammers like SCAMMER SITE who steal other people's work.
Please acknowledge receipt of this email and inform me of your decision.
Email Script 2 – Cease and Desist Letter:
RE: Cease and Desist Letter regarding Copyrighted works owned by Denise Duffield-Thomas and Lucky B Pty Ltd
Dear (SCAMMER SITE),
I am Denise Duffield-Thomas, the copyright owner of the Money Bootcamp which is trademarked as "Money Bootcamp with Denise Duffield-Thomas". You are the contact for the site (SCAMMER SITE).
You are infringing use of my work on the following URLS: My trademarked course: www.DeniseDT.com/Bootcamp - a body of work I've been teaching since 2012, is being sold (or likely phished) here: https://SCAMMER SITE.net/courses/denise-duffield-thomas-money-bootcam-2020/ and my Manifesting course here: https://SCAMMER http://SITE.net/.../denise-duffield-thomas-advanced.../
My intellectual property is an extremely important, valuable asset, and I am prepared to take the necessary steps to protect my interests and seek appropriate damages.
Pursuant to my exclusive rights as the copyright owner of this work, I demand that you immediately remove from the internet and destroy all copies digital or otherwise of my works in your possession.
Additionally, I demand compensation in the amount of $10,000 for your blatant and willful infringement of my copyrights.
If I have not received your affirmative response by 1st May that you have complied with taking down the sales page then I will pursue legal action to ensure my rights are protected.
Furthermore, this communication is intended for settlement purposes and is without prejudice to and shall not affect, in any manner, the rights, claims, remedies, actions or causes of action which I have, had or may have, at law or in equity, including my right to be reimbursed for all legal fees associated with this matter.
This letter is inadmissible in any future proceeding pursuant to Federal Rule of Evidence 408.
Please be further advised that I reserve my right to commence and prosecute to completion, without further notice, any and all actions or proceedings I feel is necessary and/or appropriate.
Thank you for your immediate attention to this matter.
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