Domain Name Wire

Domain Name Wire

  • Larry Seltzer Struggles with “Whois Identity Theft”

    1. BY - Jan 21, 2009
    2. Policy & Law
    3. 5 Comments

    eWeek writer can’t get copycat whois record changed.

    I’ve heard people complain about “whois identity theft” before. Essentially, this is when someone uses your name on their whois record. You can imagine how this could potentially be troubling for you, depending on the domain name. But in the case of eWeek writer Larry Seltzer, the “identity thief” went several steps further.

    First, the domain that is being spoofed is LarrySeltzer.net. Second, the perpetrator used Seltzer’s phone number and address (although a different email) in whois. The registrant name is “Larry Seltzer Astroturfing LLC”. Then he used his LarrySeltzer.net email address to make posts to a mailing list and to try to get eWeek’s security team to send him login credentials. Ouch.

    Seltzer tried to get it taken care of by filing an inaccurate whois complaint (twice, actually) and complaining to eNom (the domain is registered at an eNom reseller). Then he went directly to ICANN with his press credentials. It is still unresolved.

    As Seltzer points out, the registrar probably contacts the domain owner via e-mail to verify ownership. The e-mail address is correct. The phone and mailing address is not.

    ICANN has recently cracked down on a couple registrars that it felt were not responding to inaccurate whois complaints. But I can understand Seltzer’s frustration. And, from a registrar perspective, I bet that if this domain were at GoDaddy the problem would be resolved already. For all its faults, GoDaddy has stringent whois policies (and it doesn’t just delete domains with inaccurate whois anymore).

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