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25 February, 2019
Registrants be wary - auDA has warned of another domain invoicing scam doing the rounds, targeting those who've registered Australian domain names.
Letters are being sent requesting payment for a .com version of a .com.au domain name - and the difference between the extensions can be easily overlooked
"The letters resemble invoices and there is a risk of registrants paying the invoice in the mistaken belief they are renewing their .au domain name licence, when they’re actually paying to register a new, different domain name," says auDA.
While the company involved this time around wasn't named by auDA, it's certainly not the first and won't be the last. Unfortunately, instances of this have been all too common over the years and will continue to occur for as long as the schemes work.
To avoid paying for a domain name you don't want or need, it's very important for Australian businesses to know who their registrar is. This can be determined by performing a WHOIS search. Additionally, read any notices you receive relating to your name/s very carefully and if ever in any doubt, call or contact your registrar via a previously verified point to confirm if the communication is authentic.
Late last year, we reported the Federal Court of Australia ruled a domain registration business had breached Australian Consumer Law provisions relating to misleading and deceptive conduct in what appears to be a similar scheme. In that particular instance, the party involved had sent hundreds of thousands of letters. Given the amount being requested by the party for registration, only a small percentage of letters needed to be successful in order to make the venture profitable.
Authorities will pursue such cases where they can. Some years ago, there was an overseas company engaged in similar behaviour - so in that circumstance a prosecution was difficult. It wasn't mentioned if in this instance the company involved is based in Australia, but auDA mentioned Consumer Affairs Victoria and Government of Western Australia Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety - Consumer Complaints can be contacted, hinting to an Australian connection.
Regardless of where such letters originate, you can also flag these scams via the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).
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