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Legal Perspective: Protecting your business website from fraudsters looking to hijack your clients | Business – Tucson, Arizona

Tucson, Arizona 2022-05-23 03:00:00 –

TToday, it’s relatively easy to create a professional-looking website that stimulates self-confidence and guides customers to your company. If a specific domain name is available, you can simply use your Internet domain registrar to create your own domain name.

Unfortunately, the ease of registering a domain name comes at a price. It can be fraudulent. For example, suppose you run a home security company. You have a website: TheBestSecurityCompany.com.. Having this domain name allows employees to use email addresses suffixed with “@ TheBestSecurityCompany.com” to communicate with customers on many subjects, including billing.

One day, one of the oldest customers noticed that he failed to pay the invoice and contacted the customer to find out that she believed she had already paid the invoice. The customer says he received an email from the company’s billing officer, Jane, three weeks ago providing new account information for her bill payments. As a result, the customer sent Jane’s electronic payment to her new account.

You are stunned. Your company has not sent any new billing information. The customer wasn’t contacted by the biller, but found that the customer received an email from “jane@TheB3stSecurityCompany.com” where the domain name “e” was replaced with “3”. Your customer has been scammed. But you don’t want this loyal customer to pay twice, so your company eats an invoice. This month, I noticed that some of my customers were late for payment, so I’ll make more calls.

There are countless similar scams available to you and your customers by typo scammers by registering misleading similar domain names. A malicious attacker could create a website that looks much like your website and is intended to sell your product or service at a possibly significant discount. If you try to order from a fake website as if it were genuine and you don’t receive the item in return, your reputation will be bad and it can lead to bad reviews of your genuine business.

Traditional treatments may not work

What options do you need to stop these villains? Fraud is a crime and you can file a complaint with the authorities, but victims rarely get a satisfactory or timely resolution. Even ordinary civil proceedings may not be a good option unless you know the identity of the performer and how to find that person. Still, there can be significant statutory costs.

Unfortunately, it is becoming increasingly difficult to identify an individual or company that owns a particular domain name. As a result of the evolution of privacy laws, including the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), tools like the Whois search site are currently of little use. Websites that register domains, called registrars, usually do not provide information because of their customers’ right to privacy. If you do not know who to sue, it is difficult to file a proceeding.

In certain situations, it may be worth issuing an early subpoena to the registrant to obtain the registrant’s identity, but the response from the registrant causes the domain to be registered by a fake identity or an overseas actor. It may be clear that it was done. All the while, your customers continue to be the victims of fraudulent websites, you continue to lose your business, and your credit suffers as fraudulent customers associate you with fraud.

An efficient and practical way to fight back

Fortunately, there are other ways to use your company’s trademark rights to prevent users with misleading domain names. Almost any company can claim a trademark right as long as it uses a name, mark, or logo in its commerce to identify the company as the source of goods or services. Formal registration grants broader rights, but does not require formal registration of the trademark. Most companies use trademarks (such as names) as part of their domain name. Therefore, businesses can use trademark rights to protect their domain names.

The Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP) could be used to resolve a situation in a short period of time and at a relatively low cost without knowing the identity of the “real” party who owns the problematic domain name. I have. .. The UDRP procedure may be the fastest way to deal with the domain name confusion issue. UDRP provides simple steps to transfer the problematic domain name to ownership and control, or to cancel the domain altogether. The policy is implemented through mediation and processed online. The trademark owner is confused that the domain name in question is confusingly similar to the owner’s trademark, that the domain name registrant does not have a legitimate right to use the domain name, and that the domain name is malicious. You can file a complaint to show that you are registered and used.

The UDRP process can give very fast results. This means that the website will be deleted in just 5 days from the filing date. Final results are usually obtained in 6-8 weeks, even if it takes time. Such swift action is usually unprecedented in the context of proceedings. Registrar tends to remove websites more quickly if the fraud on the website is particularly obvious, or if there is a history of similar typos in the past. In all cases, when an appointed arbitrator or panel of arbitrators makes a decision, it is published and the registrar behind the domain manages the decision. In addition, you may be able to obtain the registrant’s identity at the beginning of the process. In some cases, such information may lead to the ability to seek further remedies from the performer after the domain has been removed. The UDRP process itself is not a way to recover financial damage.

In this era of internet anonymity, trying to use standard methods at the expense of typo scammers ultimately increases the cost of solving the problem and wastes valuable time. There is a possibility. Contact your trademark attorney to discuss options that are appropriate for your particular situation and stay vigilant when conducting online commerce.

Mario Basta is a Fenemore lawyer with a focus on civil proceedings representing clients on national and international IP issues. These include trademark revocation and opposition, counterfeiting issues, trademarks, copyrights, and trade secret proceedings.To reach him in mvasta@fennemorelaw.com..

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