Australia's administrator and self-regulatory policy body for the .au country code Top Level Domain is keeping an eye out for domain registrations that may be used for scams preying on generous Australians wanting to help out bushfire victims.
Disasters can bring out the best in people - and the worst. After disasters such as the bushfires impacting Australia it's unfortunately not uncommon for fraudsters to set up web sites posing as charities to collect donations that will never make it to disaster victims.
While the eligibility criteria for registering Australian domain names helps to stop some who may want to take advantage of the generosity of others, a few may still slip through the cracks.
au Domain Administration (auDA) says it is currently monitoring new domain name registrations that contain terms related to bushfires and associated relief efforts.
"If we find something that doesn’t stack up we’ll ask the registrar to validate the registrant’s eligibility to hold the domain name," says auDA.
This is known as a "warranty check". When registering an Australian domain name, the registrant warrants all information supplied to the registrar to be true, complete and correct. auDA or the registrar can cancel the registration if any of information provided is false.
How To Check A .AU Domain Name
Before parting with dollars online, whether it's to purchase something or donate to a cause, it's a good idea to do some basic checks.
Perform a WHOIS search on the domain name - that will provide publicly available information regarding the registrant.
If an ABN or ACN appears in the WHOIS result for the registrant ID field, check it against the Australian Business Register to see if it matches.
Run a search on the business or charity name in Google and see what that turns up.
Be suspicious if a payment or donation is requested to be paid using cryptocurrency, wire transfer or money order.
Just with regard to online shopping scams, reported losses in Australia so far in 2019 are over $4 million, well above the 2018 total figure of $3.28 million. The old wisdom applies here - if something seems too good to be true, it probably is.
If you should come across a scam online, you can report it to ScamWatch.
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