Senior Associate W. John Eagan recently put a stop to an email fraud scheme with a favorable result under the Uniform Domain-Name Dispute-Resolution Policy (“UDRP”). Unknown bad actors registered a domain name which was confusingly similar to a domain used by one of the Firm’s clients, whereby the fraudsters substituted the “.com” domain of the legitimate website with “.co” for its scheme. The spurious domain was then used to send fraudulent emails to the client’s customers, posing as actual employees of the client, the only difference in email address being the surreptitious switch from “.com” to “.co” at the end of the address. The intent of the scheme was to provide alternative banking details in the hopes that the client’s customers would not notice the change in email domain, and would begin sending payments to the new bank coordinates.
While the victims of any such crimes should first and foremost report the fraud to the proper law enforcement authorities, the firm was able to counsel a relatively simple and effective solution to help ensure that the fraudulent activity did not continue. A successful complaint under the UDRP can result in transfer of the disputed domain name to the complaining party. So while the imposters may reside outside the jurisdiction of the proper authorities, without access to or control of the domain name, it can no longer be used to perpetrate email fraud.
The Firm routinely counsels its clients on cost-effective and practical solutions to intellectual property issues from its offices in Miami, Boca Raton, and Jacksonville.