Attorney General Hardy Myers today warned Oregon Internet users of one of the newest scams on the worldwide web...phony offers of pre-registration of the new top-level domain names. Domain names, such as in the Consumer Product Safety Commission's www.cpsc.gov, enable Internet users to locate specific web sites. The top-level domain (TLD) is the final extension on the address such as ".com", ".gov" or ".org".
The selection of seven, new top-level domain names was recently announced by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). The names and purposes include ".aero" for those in the air-transport industry, ".biz" for businesses, ".coop" for cooperatives, ".info" for unrestricted use, ".museum" for museums, ".name" for registration by individuals, and ".pro" for accountants, lawyers, and physicians.
"Con artists are taking advantage of the new TLD announcement by targeting would-be web site owners in Oregon," Myers said. "Consumers are receiving misleading faxes and email solicitations that for a fee, guarantee ownership or preferential treatment in the registration process of one of the new TLDs."
According to information on the ICANN web site, the new TLDs are not expected to be operational until at least the second quarter of 2001 (April through June) and no companies have yet been accredited to register names in any of the new TLDs. In addition, no one has been authorized to pre-register domain names in the new TLDs.
The ICANN web site goes on to explain that registration procedures have not yet been formalized and there is no guarantee that any particular organization will be authorized to take registrations for any particular TLD.
Attorney General Myers advises Internet consumers to protect themselves by:
Avoiding any domain name pre-registration service that guarantees particular top-level domain names (TLDs) or preferential treatment in the assignment of the new TLDs.
Disregarding businesses sending unsolicited faxes and emails with offers on TLDs.
Monitoring news about the new TLDs on the ICANN web site at www.icann.org.
Checking for complaints by calling the Attorney General's consumer hotline at 1-877-877-9392. Oregon Department of Justice information on TLD scams is online at www.doj.state.or.us or from the Federal Trade Commission at www.ftc.gov.
Consumers wanting more information on Internet fraud may write the Oregon Department of Justice Financial Fraud/Consumer Protection section at 1162 Court Street, N.E., Salem, Oregon 97301-4096 for a new booklet on "High Tech Crimes." Attorney General hotline numbers include (503) 378-4320 (Salem area only), (503) 229-5576 (Portland area only) and toll-free at 1-877-877-9392.
Jan Margosian, (503) 947-4333 (media line only) firstname.lastname@example.org