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Did someone register a domain name in your name?

We regularly receive email from people who on a Google search find their name, street address and telephone number associated with some Internet domain that they had no idea that it even existed. If you're in that situation, you you will ask: How come my name was used? Why was this not detected by anyone else? What can I do about it?

It's not unusual for criminal spammers to use names, postal addresses and phone numbers of innocent third parties to register domains later advertised via spam and/or used in online frauds. This is particularly common in case of websites which are used for openly criminal purposes, including but not limited to:

There are actually two reasons for using fake details:

  1. The spammers (obviously) don't want to reveal their real identity to law enforcement
  2. They often use stolen credit card information to pay for registering Internet domains; by using the genuine billing details of the card owner they avoid raising red flags during the card verification by the domain registrar.

Depending on the registrar used, the verification of WHOIS details on Internet domain registration can be virtually non-existant. As long as the credit card is accepted by the payment processor the domain will be created. A domain will exist with completely fake details until either the card payment bounces or a third party complaint triggers an investigation. While this system allows for low operating overheads by registrars, it gives criminals a free hand to register domains with fake details and keep on using them for weeks and months before they are taken offline.

If your details have been been abused this way, you can provide a "WHOIS Details Problem Submission" to Internic, which will notify the registrar of the fake domain and will demand a response within 15 days. You will receive an email with a nk to click to confirm the problem report was from you. In most cases the problem report will result in the domain being deleted or re-registered in the name of a new owner (such as a domain name reseller). After that period has expired you will be sent another notice to verify if the problem hasn't been corrected. It only takes a single click to send it back to the registrar for further action. Here is the URL for reporting incorrect WHOIS details:

Since there is a chance that you address was used because your credit card data was stolen, please check your card statements carefully. If you find any unauthorized charges on it, immediately contact the card issuer and have the card cancelled and reissued.