A new domain name registration scam, identity theft warnings, perfume hoax, and more:
This time we've got the "goods" on yet another domain name registration scam, more information about identity theft, knockout perfume legends make a comeback, and the real scoop on whether or not the sun will explode in six years.
Anyway, let's get started...
Internet ScamBusters "Snippets"
Another Domain Name Registration Scam
If you own a domain name, you should be on the lookout for this one. You may well be deluged.
You may or may not be aware that your name, address, and contact information are available for your domain name using a special Web service called WHOIS. That's how unscrupulous scammers are compiling large databases of domain name owners... and trying to sell them something they don't need.
Here's what happened to us:
We got a fax filled with legalese that looked like we were in violation of someone's intellectual property. (Actually, by now we've gotten a dozen of them since we own quite a few domain names!)
It is dated today and gave us a deadline of tomorrow. It's VERY legalistic, using terms like "bad faith, "in accordance with the United States Legal Code," etc.
At the bottom, it says:
"Note: YOU MAY DISREGARD THIS NOTICE. IF YOU DISREGARD THIS NOTICE OR FAIL TO REPLY BY THE DEADLINE INDICATED ABOVE" (describes very obscure consequences)
When you read this carefully, it says that we can register the .NET version of one of our domain names. After all, otherwise there might be confusion if someone else registers it...
This scam is also going on new and unproven top-level domains like .BIZ. Remember that .COM is the domain name extension everyone thinks of first -- who's going to type in www.yourdomain.biz?
Unfortunately, we're sure a LOT of people will register useless domain names based on this junk.
Folks, if you get any correspondence that's not from the company you registered your domain name with, or even if you can't figure out the legalese in any domain name correspondence, contact your own Registrar.
For more information on this scam, see:
for a law firm's take on it, and
==> http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/conline/pubs/alerts/domainalrt.htm for the FTC's page on domain name registration scams.
Yahoo! Warns of Identity Theft
Another group of enterprising fraud artists is doing its best to separate Yahoo! users from their money.
In a bulk mailing to Yahoo! customers who pay for certain added features, the fraud artists posed as Yahoo! and asked the customers to send in personal and credit card information. Unfortunately, some of the customers were duped.
Bravo to Yahoo! for sending out a warning email within 24 hours of the fraudulent one.
For more information, and some common sense security tips, see:
If you're a Yahoo! Mail user and you suspect an email is fraudulent, use this form to report it:
Identity Fraud Warning for Online Retailers
If you're running an online store, pay attention to this one.
We received an email order last week from a 'demo' account with a .mn extension. The sender informed us that "In order to pay it I need to get your detailed bank info where I'm going to wire the money."
We suspect this is a scam to get our bank information. Here are the red flags you should look out for:
1. The account name is 'demo' and does not match the name of the alleged person ordering the product.
2. The .mn top-level domain is for Mongolia. You should always beware of accepting international orders from countries who may not have the same stringent regulations we do.
To find out which domain extension corresponds to which country, see:
We will never give bank info to get paid for an order.
For eight steps Web merchants can use to minimize credit card fraud, see:
This New Perfume is NOT a Knockout
On to the lighter side of scams...
Women, you may receive a letter warning you about the perils of sniffing perfume offered to you by a stranger. The perfume, it seems, is really ether or another knockout drug, and when you wake up, your money and belongings are gone.
Fortunately, this is a hoax. The only reported case of it happening is from an alleged victim's unsubstantiated story. No known drugs exist that can knock you out with a single sniff.
As always, we suggest you go to the excellent Urban Legends page to check out any e-mails like this before you forward them on:
In this case, a rose by any other name may smell as sweet, but it's not going to knock you unconscious if you take a whiff.
Is the Sun Going to Explode Soon or Not?
More from the funny pages.
If you believe this news item, you'd better start shopping for the holidays early -- not to mention catching up on all that reading.
"The Sun Will Explode In Less Than Six Years!" the headline blares at:
Since it appeared on Yahoo's news pages (in the Entertainment section), some people were alarmed by the possibility of our sun going nova before they had a chance to alphabetize their spice rack.
But you'll be less worried when you discover what paper originally printed the story: The Weekly World News, a tabloid not exactly known for its journalistic accuracy.
Once again, our friends at Snopes.com unravel the mystery of the non-exploding sun:
There's still time left to smell the roses (and remember, the roses aren't filled with knockout drugs either).
That's it for now. See you next month.