The scammers are really going for it again. They are illegally using the business details of others to register .au domains. This can obviously cause reputational damage to innocent parties e.g. scammers can put up a fake eCommerce sites and rip off the public.
And in an ironic twist, they are obviously checking out the registrant details of some of us domain investors who purchase domains on the expired auctions.
Hat Tip No 1
Early this morning I got a call from David at Drop. He had noticed some strange domains that had been registered (using one of my entities) in the past day or two. These were domains I would never in a million years register because they were typos of major brands.
He deleted them immediately, and because it was within a 3 day window, these domains will not appear on any purge list. That again is another good reason to have a good relationship with your registrar. Thank you David.
Hat Tip No 2
This goes to John in the auDA Compliance team. He had proactively been watching out for these scammers, and taking action to policy delete domains. If you look at tomorrow’s expired auctions, you will see a few PD’s. Domains like Gogl.com.au! Plenty more to follow in the next week. Good on you John.
One name in particular stands out. That is “Jurgen Neeme”. He mainly operates with the email address email@example.com – another is firstname.lastname@example.org. He uses the details of unknowing genuine businesses for his eligibility.
Another common denominator is that he seems to use auDA accredited registrars that have an overseas presence.
This guy and his cohorts have some form. This is just one WIPO decision – along with some choice quotes below:
By redirecting various Disputed Domain Names to fraudulent websites displaying fraudulent news articles aimed at convincing Internet users to fill in their personal information and deposit an amount of money, the Respondents clearly intended to profit from user confusion with the Complainants and their trademarks.
Finally, in multiple previous decisions under the Policy, the Respondent, Jurgen Neeme, has been found to have made bad faith registrations and use of domain names that were identical or confusingly similar to known trademarks …
What to do
If you want to make certain that you only have the domain names you have registered, then you can ask for a Registry Database Search from auDA.
Better to be safe than sorry!