UBU Scammers “Join Forces” With The ATO!

Well done to auDA in successfully working with Tucows to shut down a lot of their “rogue resellers” from China. The number of new registrations (UBU’s) coming through from them has definitely slowed down.

Having said that, a few still sneak through. Seems like the Australian Taxation Office is into gambling and cyber-squatting on brand names! 😉 Have a look at kate-spade.net.au and michael-kors-australia.com.au. These were both registered on 1st September. What brazen scammers to use the ATO’s ABN details.

Public Domain Registry (PDR)

Unfortunately though, auDA hasn’t had as much joy with Public Domain Registry (PDR). Registrations are still coming through from them (though not as many as before), but Mark Bouck and his team at auDA are on the look out for them. As soon as these UBU’s pop their head up, they are “sitting ducks”. But taking them down can still take time, and in the meantime, innocent people are being affected.

I wish auDA would adopt a policy of immediately suspending such obvious UBU sites (as they go through the process). As I wrote here, not only do UBU’s rip off consumers, they can cause reputational damage to innocent businesses.

Here Is One PDR Example:

The domain cmmfinancialplanners.com.au went on the expired auctions on 1st September. It was ostensibly purchased by C M M F INVESTMENTS PTY LTD through Public Domain Registry. The most obvious sign that it was an UBU was the fact that financial planners were selling sunglasses (albeit in British pounds!). Another telltale sign was the email address they used – the good old 163.com!

UBU Scammers Open New Front

These scammers are smart, and their business model is obviously profitable. It wasn’t, they wouldn’t keep doing it. So when one door shuts, they simply look for another one to open.

Another overseas registrar has popped up on the UBU list.  Over the past 2 weeks there have been quite a few UBU’s registered through InternetX. auDA wasn’t aware of them until last week, so hopefully InternetX will do the right thing and jump on these quickly.

Thanks

Lastly, a big thanks to “Michael” who works his magic and sends me through lists of UBU’s. Much appreciated – you’re providing a great service.

Ned O’Meara – 11th September 2017


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6 thoughts on “UBU Scammers “Join Forces” With The ATO!

  • Avatar
    September 11, 2017 at 9:02 am
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    I wish auDA would adopt a policy of immediately suspending such obvious UBU sites

    I would say this is risky because if you shut down say 10,000 sites there is a good chance at least one of those will actually be a legitimate site, the problem being that when the volumes are high you can’t do a lot of checking of each site.

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  • Luke Summers
    September 11, 2017 at 9:46 am
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    […] not only do UBU’s rip off consumers, they can cause reputational damage to innocent businesses.

    And that’s one of the many issues with the current policy settings.

    The current registrant eligibility requirements (such as ABN or ACN) offer no protections to consumers, and yet the policy can result in potential reputational damage for innocent organisations.

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    • Avatar
      September 11, 2017 at 9:50 am
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      Yep, the ABN/ACN rule has had its day. It now only prevents legitimate registrants whilst the scammers have free reign.

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    • Scott.L
      September 11, 2017 at 1:36 pm
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      The current registrant eligibility requirements (such as ABN or ACN) offer no protections to consumers, and yet the policy can result in potential reputational damage for innocent organisations.

      The ABN policy was intended to provide “security” for consumers; example: I feel more inclined to buy from a .com.au than a .com because the local .au provides a feeling of consumer trust, also .au has a localized (I can get me hands on that guy) feeling of justice.

      However, my eyes are opening to the idea that ABN restricts the DNS to just business, and it is fair to say that “Every Australian” should have the right to buy a domain name and use it as they see fit.

      My view on this is changing. Hmmmmm…..

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      • Shane Moore
        September 11, 2017 at 4:02 pm
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        I have similar changing feelings.

        I’d always liked the ABN (or business name, trademark etc) requirement, as it felt like an extra layer of security when dealing with a com.au website.

        But UBU has shown how flawed that idea is now.  And I agree that it also holds back non-businesses from having a domain that identifies them as Australian.

        I believe the ABN requirement served a great purpose in the early years, and helped to make the au domain space as strong as it is, but I also think it has served its purpose and can now be retired.

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        • Avatar
          September 11, 2017 at 4:20 pm
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          Agree, worked well in the early days before all the counterfeiters.

          I think a good model could be something based on having a physical address or residency.

          .DE’s “admin-c” model could be worth looking at.

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