Small Agile icon

Beware Of This Scam

We get a lot of questions about this mysterious email.

Illustration of man looking at photos on his phone

Don't panic or fall for this dangerous scam.

A few of our clients have received a very scary email, and this scam is becoming increasingly common. This all begins with an email claiming you are illegally using photos or illustrations on your website. Some of our clients have even worried that we really did illegally use images on their sites, but we never, ever do that (and often times, the cited images are actually images we've created). In fact, we have personally received this email more than fifteen times over the last two years, and our site has no illegal images whatsoever. These scammers are taking a new approach to the old phishing scheme. They just want you to click a link, and they use fear as a very tempting bait.

What does the email actually say?

The name often changes, but the email usually reads about the same. Here is the most common version we've seen:

"This is Mellie and I am a professional photographer. I was baffled, frankly speaking, when I came across my images on your website. If you use a copyrighted image without my approval, you need to be aware that you could be sued by the owner. It’s illegal to use stolen images and it’s so nasty! Take a look at this document with the links to my images you used at [website URL] and my earlier publications to obtain evidence of my copyrights. Download it now and check this out for yourself: [Redacted link to the phishing site]. If you don’t delete the images mentioned in the document above within the next several days, I’ll write a complaint against you to your hosting provider stating that my copyrights have been infringed and I am trying to protect my intellectual property.

And if it doesn’t work, you may be sure I am going to report and sue you! And I will not bother myself to let you know of it in advance."

What should you do (or not do)?

This is a phishing scam designed to install malware on your computer.


Most importantly, do not click on any links in the email. In fact, never click on an emailed link unless you are 100% sure you know the sender (and you can verify the legitimacy of the email, as people can also "spoof" an email address). The goal of the email is to get victims to download some kind of malware, whether it’s a worm, virus, trojan horse, ransomware, adware, spyware, etc.


Mark the email as "spam" and delete it from your inbox. You don't want an email with a dangerous link being clicked by anyone else with access to your computer. Plus, reporting an email as spam can help worldwide email hosts identify and eliminate phishing scams much faster. Your actions might prevent someone else from receiving the same email.


If you already clicked the link before finding this article, don't panic yet. Often times, these emails are reported as spam and Google has already deleted the link by the time you click. However, if you clicked on the link and items were downloaded to your computer, we recommend you contact a professional computer repair and virus removal specialist.


Finally, a bit of a side note: Don't ever use unlicensed, copyrighted images on your website. An innocent person can never be caught. If you got this email and thought, "Uh oh, they found out," then maybe you need to eliminate images you don't own. License images through services like Adobe Stock or Shutterstock, or use free resources like Unsplash or Pexels. These free resources are so good, there's just no excuse for using unlicensed images anymore.

We are professional web designers.

Our team creates websites that are built right...from the ground up. Our clients don't have to worry about shortcuts, stolen images, and distractions from running their businesses. Let us know how we can help you!
Schedule A Call

Nice to meet you.

We are excited you are here, and we’d like to hear more about your project. And don’t worry, we don’t pressure anyone. But if you aren’t ready to reach out quite yet, then please take a minute to learn a bit about Agile!
About Agile
Mug of coffee on a desk with Agile logo on computer screen
A selection of digital marketing work laid out on a desk

See our work.

Take a minute to check out our portfolio. Our work is simply a reflection of our incredible clients. Their stories, passion, and accomplishments are the star of the show, and they get the credit.
Our Portfolio

Schedule a call.

Sometimes a quick call can clear up your questions, point you in the right direction, and give you a clear path to move forward. We'd like to hear about your project, and we're never, ever pushy.
LEt's Talk!
A phone on a desk

We have nice clients.

Here are a few kind things people have said about us. We try to live up to them every single day.
Lindsey Sinozich
“Mike is a true visionary. Beyond developing and designing our website, he helped us see the potential of our online business. Given that we have an in-house marketing department, Mike worked alongside our team to guide and strategize, while building a site that we could manage day-to-day, maximizing our efficiency with minimal recurring cost.”

Lindsey Sinozich
Marketing Director, Fink's Jewelers

Peter Baur
“Mike was willing to express his seasoned and professional opinion without being dismissive of things that felt particularly important to us as the client. When Mike needed to, he made sure we realized any trade-offs in a decision by providing clear reasoning and significant experience to back it up. This created a level of confidence in Mike, and in any final decisions we made.”

Peter Baur
Head of School, Faith Christian School

Clay Skelton
“Finding Agile was a lucky day for us. From the moment we met Mike, it was clear we would work very well together. Mike is a great and patient listener, wise advisor, and super talented marketer. The vision and creativity that Mike has proposed far exceeded our expectations! We have gone with every idea he’s had and couldn’t be happier.”

Clay Skelton
President, ORIGOSafeDriver

Young man dialing phone
Contact Us

Let's get in touch.

Call us at 540.524.2769 between 9AM and 5PM EST, Monday through Friday. Our helpful staff is here to listen. We want to hear about you, your business, and your project…and we’re never pushy folks. Feel free to fill out the form, call our office, or read about our commitment to you during the discovery process.
Fill out the form

Fill out the form.

There's no pressure to call if the time isn't right! We'll learn about your needs and talk at a more convenient time. Please fill out the secure form below, and our team will get right back to you!

We are committed to you.

Even before we work together, our team makes a commitment about how we will treat you during the discovery process...and we really mean it.
Two ladies having a conversation

We'll treat you with decency and courtesy.

You deserve that. We're not pushy or high-pressure. We listened to our moms and always treat you the way we'd like to be treated.
Two men agreeing and shaking hands

We'll provide you with guaranteed pricing.

Our proposals aren't estimates or ballpark numbers. We'll tell you to-the-cent how much your project will cost, and that number won't change as long as the scope of the project remains the same.
Man checking items off of a list

We'll never sell you something you don't need.

Our team will only suggest research-based, ROI-focused marketing strategies designed to achieve big results.