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Scam email or Not?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by flibble, Feb 14, 2020.

  1. flibble

    flibble

    Joined:
    May 19, 2017
    Posts:
    2
    Hi all,
    Just received this and it sounds reasonably legit, except that I can't see how they think I may be professional, I'm unfortunately far removed from that :) It just smells fishy..
    (The name they address me by was correct btw).

    Hi *****,

    Thank you for building on Unity! I'm excited to see what amazing projects you're working on.

    I'm reaching out because our system flagged your email as a Unity account that may need to be updated from a personal license to a Pro license. In short, personal licenses are used for hobbyists and small-time consultants, while Pro licenses are used for any company that makes at least $200k USD a year or has $200k USD in funding/in the bank.

    There is nothing to be alarmed about. At this point, we just needed to get in contact to upgrade your license to Pro.

    Are you free to chat this week or early next week, so we can run through any questions, otherwise please let me know what you'd like do to about your license.

    All the best,

    Rhiannon


    Rhiannon Onions

    Sales Development Representative

    rhiannon.onions@unity3d.com

    unity.com
     
    hippocoder likes this.
  2. xVergilx

    xVergilx

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2014
    Posts:
    2,263
    Well its known that Unity sends these kind of messages to people whom they think are abusing personal license.
    Question is how did you managed to get into that kind of a list.

    So no, its not a scam, its legit.

    A couple of similar letters sent to the wrong people in the past.
    Might be worth asking what lead to those conclusions from Unity's side.
     
  3. Mauri

    Mauri

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2010
    Posts:
    1,744
    Seems pretty legit. Googling the name "Rhiannon Onions" also brings up a LinkedIn profile, with a person that is working at Unity Technologies in the UK ("Unity Software Ltd").
     
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2020
  4. XCPU

    XCPU

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2017
    Posts:
    130
    Had these with my Plus Sub.
    Eventually explained to them what I was using it for and plans and make 0 money so far, etc.
    Thing was they thought my email was a company email, when it's just my personal one from my ISP.
    Pretty much leave me alone these days. A right of passage I guess.
     
  5. flibble

    flibble

    Joined:
    May 19, 2017
    Posts:
    2
    OK, will get in touch with them.
    Thanks all :)
     
  6. Joe-Censored

    Joe-Censored

    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2013
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    8,339
    It is known Unity tracks what license level projects are edited using and can detect whether a project is being worked on by multiple license tiers. The software doesn't block you, but it is against the license terms. If you're on personal and working on a project together with someone on Pro, this may have gotten you flagged. It is unknown what other tracking Unity might be doing of their users to come to this kind of determination.
     
  7. angrypenguin

    angrypenguin

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2011
    Posts:
    12,694
    Something in there does sound fishy to me, which is that they've supposedly already jumped to the conclusion that you need to upgrade to Pro before actually talking to you about it. It could just be ineffective communication, though.

    You (mostly) can't use publicly available information to determine if something is legitimate or not. Any scammer could have looked this info up on LinkedIn and included it in their phishing attempts. That may not be what happened here, of course.

    If you're unsure about this then the best thing to do is contact the business in question through a publicly published channel under their control (ie: not by using anything provided in the suspicious email). This way you can be confident you reached the business in question, and they should be able to confirm with the individual in question whether or not they have actually tried to contact you.
     
    Joe-Censored likes this.
  8. Mauri

    Mauri

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    Dec 9, 2010
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    Sure, but considering that there's an unity3d-email address listed inside that email...
    (Yes, Email spoofing exists, but I doubt that's the case here)
     
  9. Kiwasi

    Kiwasi

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2013
    Posts:
    16,702
    Unity does have a history of this. We probably get a dozen posts each year were Unity employees are mistaken for scammers.

    I would definitely respond though the website rather than directly.
     
    hippocoder and angrypenguin like this.
  10. UnityMaru

    UnityMaru

    Community Engagement Manager Unity Technologies

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2016
    Posts:
    471
    Hey there,

    I thought I would just drop in to confirm that this email is indeed legitimate. I would certainly urge any user who gets an email from us and has the slightest hint of skepticism about its legitimacy to contact the Customer Services team as they can verify this for you before you take any action in the email.
     
  11. hippocoder

    hippocoder

    Digital Ape Moderator

    Joined:
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    Yep, and you shouldn't reveal any personal details in any mails at all. I mean, what business is it of Unity's what you're doing with the software? Are Unity going to track your bank account next?

    The answer is no, they're not. It's completely unacceptable to go all spy/mystery/thriller.

    Transparency is the only acceptable option.

    I find it bizarrely unacceptable. What data, what metrics does Unity use to decide if someone should be potentially abusing things? The code? How long the editor is open? What kind of paranoia at Unity fuels these decisions?

    So I'm asking: what data does Unity use to flag these accounts? Sometimes a company needs to be held to account itself.

    I like Unity, but the reasons I like Unity shouldn't be eroded.
     
    AcidArrow, Ony, Gekigengar and 3 others like this.
  12. GameDevCouple

    GameDevCouple

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    I too would actually be very interested to know exactly what data is being collected from our work to determine this. I dont really care either way, but I prefer to know when random bits of info about me are being collected and used for and by a company.
     
    Gekigengar likes this.
  13. Antypodish

    Antypodish

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2014
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    I suspect (obviously no more than guess), is the location of the Unity editor usage. If is within a company, is first hint, on the licence requirement. Of course, Unity would need to know, how much company earns, which is another matter.

    Other factor is, if developer's product is acquired, via store, giveaway, free, other means, unity knows, how many of them are being used. Lets say 10k copies were sold, for the price of 10$. So could estimate approx income.

    Also I am sure, ads apps got something that tracks usage. Could potentially estimate income from mobile apps.

    So using quite few basics telemetries, it is possible to give/guess estimate.
     
    Joe-Censored likes this.
  14. angrypenguin

    angrypenguin

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    It's right there in the Terms of Service. They're allowed to ask for relevant info to check whether we're complying with the terms, and we've pre-agreed to provide that info within 10 days if asked.

    As for determining who to follow up, there's loads of public data which could be used to give a broad heuristic. The same kind of public data you'd look up when doing a competitior analysis for business planning. For example, Google Play publicly lists broad download numbers for apps.

    Paranoia? Software license abuse is ridiculously common. In my years working with Unity I've run into more than a few people who, uh... apparently didn't understand the license. Basically, there's plenty of people out there who won't pay their bills until you make them pay their bills. In other words, while I agree that it's a pain when small and/or legit teams get the knock on the door, I don't at all think that Unity are "paranoid" for having people specifically checking up on this.

    I agree it sucks, but the only alternatives I can think of are even more big brothery.
     
    Kiwasi and xVergilx like this.
  15. ippdev

    ippdev

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    Feb 7, 2010
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    2,898
    Anybody have a clue on this. I am developing a game with my son on Unity Free. I am considering a purchase of Unity Pro and some architecture plugins for work offered here. But if I get Unity Pro and get it through my LLC rather than my personal copy am I still going to be able to develop with my son on Unity Free? Since I have a home office they will be on the same computer but I won't be mixing tiers.
     
  16. Martin_H

    Martin_H

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    I'm not sure if it only applies to people who live in the EU, but can't you make a request to them to share with you all the personal data they have? Afaik due to GDPR they have to oblige.
     
    GameDevCouple and Metron like this.
  17. AngryBirman

    AngryBirman

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    Jan 28, 2019
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    Yes. This is correct for EU. If you request to have all data that Unity has about you they need to give it. Otherwise it would be a violation of GDPR.
     
  18. hippocoder

    hippocoder

    Digital Ape Moderator

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    That's the thing.

    It's 100% OK for even a moderator to question these things. It's the sign Unity is a healthy company, a healthy community. When questions turn into unfounded attacks, that's when it's no good for anyone.

    For us here, we can and should question. This benefits Unity and us alike. Imagine if nobody ever questioned or asked? Where would we be?
     
    Socrates, angrypenguin and Martin_H like this.
  19. Kiwasi

    Kiwasi

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    We'd probably have dark theme already. :p

    Its only because people complained about it that Unity realized it was a feature people would pay for.
     
    Ryiah, Ony, xVergilx and 1 other person like this.
  20. hippocoder

    hippocoder

    Digital Ape Moderator

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    Devil if you do or don't :)
     
    Ony likes this.
  21. angrypenguin

    angrypenguin

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    No arguments there. And communicating that that stuff sucks will hopefully encourage Unity (and others) not to expand those things past the minimum needed to safeguard themselves.
     
    Martin_H likes this.
  22. Ony

    Ony

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    Apr 26, 2009
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    Funny, I received a similar email recently, but with some differences:

    Hi Ony,

    Thank you for building on Unity!

    I'm reaching out because our system flagged your email as a Unity account that may need some serious reconsideration. In short, It appears as if you continue to make games, year after year, despite clear evidence that you barely make minimum wage, and frankly we're worried about your mental health.

    Yes, things used to be good. Really good. But those days are done. And so should you be.

    There is nothing to be alarmed about. You knew this was coming. At this point, we just wanted to get in contact to find out what the hell you're thinking.

    All the best,
    Unity

    * disclaimer: I may or may not have made this up.
     
  23. unit_dev123

    unit_dev123

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2020
    Posts:
    963
    wran put up with lots, or bad influence
     
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2020
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