DomainSkate is located in the US Northeast, where winters get very cold. One of our team was looking for a warm jacket deal for “Cybermonday.” A friend offered her a link, but she was a little gun-shy to buy. Why? She has experience with the DomainSkate system – and she’s rightfully wary of look-alike domain names.

Look-alike domains are web addresses that are quite similar to the original name, but are not exact matches. For example, several mistypes of “Microsoft.com” send you to sites that try to give your computer malware or viruses. (We won’t share those addresses to protect you.)

In the example below, “ProNike.com,” which seems like a reasonable place to buy “pro gear” made by Nike, is actually owned in Mongolia. We don’t know if they ship to New York.

 

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As a branding and marketing professional, it is your job to protect your customers from sites like this, for many reasons. They have the potential to do reputational damage to your business. If customers are buying fake goods, or giving up information that could lead to credit card theft or identity theft, they’re going to look to you and your company and ask why you didn’t do everything you could to protect them.

A good monitoring system which checks sites regularly, reports on their use, change of status and potential security infringements is a must in today’s cybercrime-ridden world. No one wants a list of potential scam sites to check manually – they want a way to see what’s on the sites, evaluate, and take action on the problem immediately.

The famous quote, attributed to bank robber Willie Sutton is that he robbed banks because “That’s where the money is.” In 2015, the money is online. Your marketing budget that needs to be protected from scammers who set up fake sites. Customer’s virtual credit card swipes can be lost on fake sites. Employees can respond to phishing emails, and give away millions of dollars. The cost of cybercrime is estimated to be over $445 Billion as of 2014, and an ‘average’ cybercrime can cost $15.4 million.   

So many of the scams we see are connected to domain-related brand fraud – which is why it is so important to open your eyes to this potential problem. The key is proactively protecting your brand, large or small, from this threat. Check email addresses in the mails you get, and look at the website addresses in your browser for confirmed, legitimate, https-locked websites. As for our teammate, she’s still searching for a real coat deal. Stay warm out there.

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