UK Warning Over Bogus Domain Name Offers

The British Office of Fair Trading (OFT) has issued an advisory to small businesses concerning a rash of fraudulent domain name registration scams.

In the bogus offer, businesses have been contacted by so-called "Domain Registration Agents" and asked to register domain names that are similar to their own, due to the claim that "certain other parties" might be interested in purchasing them, and the targeted business has a limited time to acquire the domain names "in order to protect their brand."

Another similar scam is where the caller claims that an offer is being made on the business' current domain name, and an extended renewal is required in order to prevent its sale to "the other interested parties."

In many of these cases, the offer claims could not be independently verified, and the OFT is asking businesses who have been targeted by these offers to contact their local Trading Standards office, or their Internet Service Provider to inquire if the offer is genuine.

"Businesses should be wary of cold-callers putting pressure on them to buy domain names in haste. We have warned a number of domain-name registration agents about their selling practices and will continue to crack down on any misleading claims," said OFT Chairman John Vickers, in a statement.