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Australians Stung In Domain Renewal Scams

June 16, 2014

A new report from the ACCC shows many Australians still falling victim to online scams; among them - fake domain renewals.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission's Targeting Scams Report 2013 shows over 90,000 Australians reported scams to the ACCC last year, with $89,136,975 million reported lost. 

Number 7 on the ACCC's Top Scams list is fake billing scams. The body reports that last year,  false billing increasing markedly by 45 per cent. 

"False billing scams represented around 4 per cent of scam contacts with 3,672 reports received," states the report. 

Reported losses also increased by almost 28 per cent to nearly $725,000.

While subscription-type services such as advertising are a favourite ploy, so too are those involving domains.

"Another common scam approach is sending invoices for the renewal of a business's current domain name registration, however the domain name will be slightly different such as '.com' instead of ''," says the ACCC.

A scam that also still occurs all too often is where what appears to be a renewal notice is actually a transfer permission. The domain name is transferred from the registrant's registrar of choice to another company.

The ACCC advises businesses to ensure they know who they are dealing with and to have solid anti-fraud strategies in place - processes for verifying and paying accounts. 

"Do not let anyone pressure you into making decisions involving payments or ongoing contracts. If you are unsure, always seek independent financial or legal advice."

Australian registrar Domain Registration Services warns its customers should be vigilant and wary of responding to anything that resembles an invoice that is not generated by the company. It advises contacting their office with any concerns about a letter, phone call or email received  in order to determine authenticity.

The ACCC's Targeting Scams Report 2013 can be downloaded here (PDF).


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