We have recently seen a spike in domain name scams some originating from overseas and some purporting to be from within Australia.
The way it usually works is that the business is told that someone else is trying to register their exact match domain in another TLD such as .net, this of course concerns (or in some instances panics) business owners who are operating under the false understanding that someone is trying to misappropriate their brand name.
The false representations being made are done under a semi official looking name, and the use of words such as “under the statutory obligation to contact you“, giving the impression that the sender is a domain name regulator or registry. They are then deceived, under this false understanding to pay hundreds of dollars for a domain which they could hand register for $10 or $20. The conduct of these kinds of ‘businesses’ is misleading and deceptive, and unlawful.
One recent email that has been hitting Australian businesses hard over the past few weeks has been this email (we have removed the parties details and changed the date of the email so as not to identify the recipient):
Sent: Thursday, 14 July 2020 11:32 AM
Subject: Your domain name has been claimed
We have received a request for the registration of the website www.examplewebsite.net. Our system shows that you are the owner of www.examplewebsite.com. This can have far-reaching consequences for you in the future. We are therefore under the statutory obligation to contact you, in order to offer you the first right of registration. This means that we will reject the application of the third party and the website:
After agreement we will link this website to:
This means that you will have the first option on the domain name, in order to avoid possible future problems.
We are usually under the obligation to register the domain name and to protect it for a period of 10 years. The annual price for the .NET extension is AU$39.95 per year. This means a one-off payment of AU$399.50. When the link has been completed, all the Internet traffic that goes to the .NET extension, will be automatically linked to your current extension and website. This process will take a maximum of 24 hours. This domain name will then have a worldwide reach. The third party will be rejected and can no longer use your domain name.
– You will receive a one-off invoice of AU$399.50, exclusive of GST, for a term of 10 years.
– This contract can be cancelled at all times after the first term of one year. The paid amount for the remaining number of years will be refunded to your account.
If you agree to our offer, please send an agreement by email within 48 hours after receipt of this email, stating your name, address and ABN number in a reply to this e-mail address.
The third party will subsequently be rejected by us, and we will then complete the link. You will receive a confirmation and all the information you need by email on the same day.
With kind regards,
Things have moved on from the early days when we had renewal scams, which lead to auDA changing .au policy to remove expiry dates from whois records.
These kind of scams tarnish many legitimate resellers and registrars who operate ethically and lawfully.
Have you been hit by a similar scam ?