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ACCC Warns Of Domain Scams

Published March 7, 2011

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) received around 42,000 scam-related reports in 2010, double that of 2009. Among the common scams were domain name related fraud.

The ACC released a report today to mark the start of Fraud Week 2011, entitled "Targeting Scams", that shows fraud has become a sophisticated and serious form of economic crime, particularly in the online sector. 

2740 cases of false billing - including advertising, directory and domain name registration - were reported in 2010, representing 6% of all cases reported. Total losses reported by consumers in that category came to just under a million dollars. 

In an interview with SmartCompany, ACCC business commissioner Michael Shaper said in relation to domain name fraud, targets may receive a statement for domain name registration - but for a different domain, similar enough that it may escape the attention of the person receiving the bill. For example, a person may be the registrant of a domain name ending in, but the invoice might just state .com. 

Domain name fraud comes in many flavours. Another common scam is where a registrant receives a very official looking invoice that appears to be for a registration renewal but is in fact a transfer - and not from their usual registrar. The domain stays in the registrant's name, but the management of it is transferred to another company; without the registrant understanding what is happening.

According to Australian registrar Domain Registration Services, If consumers believe they have received unsolicited marketing material in regard to a domain name renewal, or been misled about a domain renewal, they should contact the ACCC. 

The full Australian Competition and Consumer Commission's "Targeting Scams" report can be viewed here (PDF).

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