What do Louis Vitton, Oakley, Calloway and the State of Louisiana have in common? They all have felt the sting of counterfeits. In the case of retailers and manufacturers, knock offs cut into profits. For those fashionistas looking to save a buck, it’s a choice. But who wants to unknowingly pay $800 for an imitation Prada bag? In the Louisiana example, the issue was voters not handbags. The register to vote dot org website looks like a legitimate government website but does not reveal its contact information and is not a registered governmental or non profit agency. The site may well register voters but in the meanwhile also obtains personal identification information and is alleged to assess reoccurring monthly fees for their services. Let’s just say there have been complaints about it.
For the average computer user, knockoff domain addresses also pose a real threat.
These doppelgangers take advantage of a misspelled domain name in the context of a site or email address. By omitting the dot between main and sub what should be “us.company.com” ends up as “uscompany.com.” All possible mistyped domains are bought up and used by unscrupulous typosquatters. Some fake sites and emails look deadly real. This ploy is on the rise.
At a glance, it looks fine. But when you come back from a week-long holiday and there are 548 emails in your inbox, you may not exercise the kind of diligence needed to catch this stuff. Let’s add doppelganger websites and domains to the ever growing list of scams of which we need to be aware.