Feeds

Judge halts domain registration scam

$4.26m in bogus renewal fees collected

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

A federal judge has ordered members of a Canadian operation to stop posing as domain-name registrars in scams that collected more than $4.26m in bogus renewal fees from unsuspecting consumers, small businesses, and non-profits.

US District Judge Robert M. Dow Jr. of the Northern District of Illinois also issued judgments of $4.26m against defendants Steven E. Dale, Isaac Benlolo, Kirk Mulveney, Pearl Keslassy, and a company called 1646153 Ontario. The judgements, which represented the total amount of consumer injury caused in the scam, were suspended for all defendants except Dale, based on their inability to pay. They will be required to turn over $10,000 to settle the charges.

The settlement puts to rest a complaint the FTC brought in 2008 accusing the defendants of sending unsolicited mail in which they posed as domain-name registrars who falsely claimed to have an existing business relationship with the recipients. Thousands of the letters claimed the recipients would lose domain name addresses they owned unless they paid renewal fees. The fake invoices included existing addresses belonging to the recipient, sometimes with slight variations, such as “.org” instead of “.com.”

Some of the notices also promised search engine–optimization services in exchange for the fee. Those who paid didn't see increases in web traffic.

Dow permanently ordered the defendants to stop misrepresenting that they have a pre-existing business relationship, or that they will provide domain-name registration services or SEO services. The order was issued in March, but only announced on Monday.

The FTC dropped charges against Ari Balabanian and a company called Data Business Solutions. ®

Remote control for virtualized desktops

More from The Register

next story
Knock Knock tool makes a joke of Mac AV
Yes, we know Macs 'don't get viruses', but when they do this code'll spot 'em
Feds seek potential 'second Snowden' gov doc leaker – report
Hang on, Ed wasn't here when we compiled THIS document
DRUPAL-OPCALYPSE! Devs say best assume your CMS is owned
SQLi hole was hit hard, fast, and before most admins knew it needed patching
Why weasel words might not work for Whisper
CEO suspends editor but privacy questions remain
DEATH by PowerPoint: Microsoft warns of 0-day attack hidden in slides
Might put out patch in update, might chuck it out sooner
BlackEnergy crimeware coursing through US control systems
US CERT says three flavours of control kit are under attack
prev story

Whitepapers

Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
New hybrid storage solutions
Tackling data challenges through emerging hybrid storage solutions that enable optimum database performance whilst managing costs and increasingly large data stores.
Website security in corporate America
Find out how you rank among other IT managers testing your website's vulnerabilities.