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domain names fraud
Article 1 May 2019

Dubious domain name sales is often fraud

A new threat has appeared on the horizon: domain name fraud. At some point, you could receive a phone call from a company who will try to sell you an expensive domain name under false pretences. We would like to warn you and to advise you on what to do when this happens.

Quick decision-making

If you receive such a phone call, the person on the other end of the line will pressure you to quickly say 'yes' to the purchase of a domain name that is similar to yours or to one of your trademarks. They will urge you to do this ‘before it’s too late’ because a third party, supposedly a competitor, is trying to register a domain name similar to yours or to register your trademark as a domain name. You are then put on the spot, to register the domain name immediately for 10 years  or 15 years. If you say yes, they will have their agreement and you'll receive an invoice for hundreds of euros. Moreover, each year you will be charged with renewal costs.


Be aware

Please be aware that this is simply a sly way of trying to sell their product. Companies who try to sell domain names often cannot even see whether a third party is actually attempting to register a similar domain name. Although they will eventually sell you a real service, this is still fraud. You will be called without asking, you will be urged to make a quick and sometimes immediate decision and will have to pay an amount that is higher than competitive rates. Also, the domain name has to be registered for a longer period of time. So, what should you do when this happens?


What to do when this happens

We strongly advise to not make such a decision based on one phone call and you can explain that to the company accordingly. Now, you could either discontinue the conversation by voicing your lack of interest in their product or express how you wish to receive such information in an email so you can think it over. Then, always Google the company you were talking to and contact your trademark attorney who can advise you on the matter.

However, when you have already accepted over the phone - it is best to contact the Fraud Help Desk as well as to report your case to the police. This will increase the chance of putting an end to the fraudulent practises. In addition, send a written defence letter to the company explaining how you want to annul the agreement based on error, deception or abuse of circumstances. If you need assistance on how to conduct such a letter, contact one of our attorneys.