FTC Shuts Down Domain Name Scammers

The FTC says a Toronto-based company called Internet Listing Service scammed thousands of U.S. consumers and small businesses by mailing invoices to them demanding payment for unnecessary domain registration services. The company was given a suspended judgment of over $4 million, based on “the total amount of consumer injury” caused, but in reality the people behind the scam have been ordered to pay $10,000 because that’s all the money they have left.

“FTC busts domain name scammers” [NetworkWorld]

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  1. kylere1 says:

    I applaud this, now I want them to go after the other 1000 companies with the same criminal business model.

    • colorisnteverything says:

      Yes! I just got one from the “Universal Domain Registry” again. I get them at least once a year. I’ve had a domain for 6 years and it never fails!

  2. pecan 3.14159265 says:

    Off topic but…I can has comment? Yes? Oh hai, guys!

    /has had coffee

  3. Papa Midnight says:

    Oh wow, I remember these clowns. Tried to send me a notice to renew my domain a few months ago yet my domain doesn’t expire till September bi-annually (which would be this September, but either way, I’m paying no more than $15 for a renewal). They wanted me to send them $90 to renew for a year, $170 to renew for 2 years, plus all the typical add-on services (whois anonymity, etc.). I laughed quite heartily at that letter.

    • chatterboxwriting says:

      I do a lot of online marketing with Adsense/Amazon, so I have about 25 domains registered in my name. I constantly get these letters; I don’t have one here right now, so I don’t know if it was this company sending them, but the contents were the same. I usually register my domains at name.com, which sometimes has coupon codes for $5.99 .com names. Even without a coupon, it usually costs no more than $10.19 with the tax.

  4. Conformist138 says:

    It’s sad that people with the domains don’t seem to always know how they registered in the first place. It seems it would be difficult to fool someone who knew how their own billing worked.

    • reynwrap582 says:

      I had an experience fairly recently working on a website refresh for a small company that had originally purchased their domain for 5 years, and it was about 4 years, 9 months into the registration when they hired me. The domain and webhost (which is another story altogether) had been bought separately (domain through godaddy). I needed to change some settings on the domain (I was switching them to google apps) and asked who had the info to log in to the domain management panel, and nobody there knew who it was registered through, when it was originally registered, how much time was left, what the login would be once I found the registrar, or that it even needed to be renewed! (“But I thought we owned the domain, we don’t have to keep paying for it…do we?” direct quote)

      Turned out that their IT guy from 5 years earlier had registered the domain and never made a record of it, the e-mail he used to register it was long deactivated, nobody had any idea how to contact him (they weren’t even completely sure WHO it was, they went through so many IT guys) and the IT duties had passed through at least a half dozen people before they decided to stop hiring people and outsourced it.

      They were lucky they hired me when they did, because 3 months later their website and e-mail would have otherwise tanked. A whois lead me to figure out their registrar was godaddy, and it took about 3-4 days of back-and-forth with them before I could even get access to the domain controls.

      So, no, it wouldn’t surprise me in the least that tons of people fall for these schemes.

  5. Destron says:

    Ah, ya, I own 3 domain names and I get these letters to, I also get a letter telling me that my registrar has sold all its domain customers to them and they need $115 to renew for a year.

  6. tbax929 says:

    That sounds like a small cost of doing business. No wonder there are so many scammers out there.

  7. BBG says:

    Makes me proud of my home town to know we have such skilled criminals…

  8. MrsLopsided says:

    How does the FTC charge & enforce judgement against Canadians & a Canadian company and know their ability-to-pay?

  9. pot_roast says:

    I get similar scam attempts all the time. I write “F*CK YOU” in sharpie across it and send it back. Oh, and domain-lock your domains.

  10. backinpgh says:

    Yep, I get the same type of thing from like “Domain Registry of America” or whatever nonsense they go by, year after year. It’s annoying.