domainwatch.org

Friday November 25 2005

Domain slammer Rafferty bust (Chesley Rafferty)

Domain slammer Rafferty bust
http://www.computerworld.co.nz/cw.nsf/UNID/D8CC28D9395E03B0CC2570C4000E7B55

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The pigeons have come home to roost of Chesley Rafferty, of Domain Names Australia/America infamy. Rafferty sent out countless letters which looked like invoices to domain name holders, telling them that their registration was about to expire and asked for hundreds of dollars to renew them.

By Juha Saarinen, Auckland | Friday, 25 November, 2005

Domain slammer Rafferty bust

The pigeons have come home to roost of Chesley Rafferty, of Domain Names Australia/America infamy. Rafferty sent out countless letters which looked like invoices to domain name holders, telling them that their registration was about to expire and asked for hundreds of dollars to renew them.

Nobody knows exactly how much money Rafferty made from the scam, but some reckon it’s millions. The Commerce Commission alone stopped over $500,000 worth of credit card transactions going into a Swiss bank account in Rafferty and fellow slammer Bradley Norrish’s names. The pair also raided the Nominet whois database for .uk, and hit British domain name holders with a mass mailout from Internet Registry UK, asking them for £175 fees.

Whereas our Commerce Commission didn’t take legal action against Rafferty, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission did, and also the Australian Domain Administration, which manages the .au namespace. They went after Rafferty in 2002 and last year, the Australian Federal Court found Rafferty guilty of breaching the Trade Practices Act, and ordered him to pay costs to the ACCC and auDA.

Both the ACCC and auDA petioned for Paul Chesley Rafferty, 26, to be made bankrupt, but it seems he beat them to it and fell on his own sword instead. Norrish meanwhile seems to be busy still through his Internet Registrations Worldwide company that has registered around 2,000 .us domains. He is also involved in a premium-rate SMS scheme whereby people are lured into entering a competition to win a plasma TV if they sign up for a horoscope service at A$2.50 per message.

Incidentally, Rafferty is not a friend of the FryUp. It appears he took umbrage to us describing him as a “scammer”. He was “embarrassed” for the FryUp that we didn’t bother to find out any factual detail and he threatened to sue unless we printed a retraction, as those without leg to stand on sometimes do. Check out the FryUp below for our response. Ah, good times. Good times.
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Thursday November 10 2005

Small businesses plagued by unsolicited offers – Internet Domain Names

Filed under: General — Josh @ 6:10 pm

from: http://www.docep.wa.gov.au/Corporate/Media/statements/2005/October/Small_businesses_pla.html

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Issue Date: – Thursday, 27 October 2005

Small businesses plagued by unsolicited offers – Internet Domain Names

Small business operators are being warned not to fall victim to scammers trying to charge for registering unwanted website addresses.

Consumer Protection Commissioner Patrick Walker said small businesses were being plagued by unsolicited approaches to register or “renew” web addresses, known as domain names.

“The right domain name is very important to any business that wants to attract customers to its website,” said Mr Walker.

“But scammers attempt to dupe businesses into registering or “renewing” a similar website address to their existing domain name.”

For example, the letter may offer to renew the domain name www.closetoyourname.net.au which is similar to the existing website www.closetoyourname.com.au .

“Though the difference is very subtle, the two domain names cannot be interchanged,” Mr Walker said.

“Scammers are banking on busy office staff missing the subtle difference and believing the “renewal” must have come from the original company which registered the name.

“Often the business does not realise that they have been scammed until the renewal notice from the original registrar arrives.”

Barry Sue, owner of Jack Sue WA Skindivers, is one such trader who was duped into paying $187.00 for the “renewal” of a domain name which was similar to his existing website address.

Mr Walker said in the past few years, consumer protection agencies across Australia have taken action to close down these unscrupulous operators.

“But operators are becoming smarter and couch their offers in terms that make it very difficult to prosecute. At the end of the day, they are offering a service, it’s just not the service businesses want.

“Small business operators need to be vigilant and not fooled by official looking letters.”

Mr Walker advised small businesses to:

  • Read any renewal notices carefully;
  • Know the name of your real domain name registrar;
  • Find out the renewal date for your domain name;

The Australian Domain Name Authority (auDa) has a list of accredited domain name registrars on its website www.auda.org.au as well as warnings about scam operators.

For more information ring 1300 30 40 54 or email consumer@docep.wa.gov.au

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