ICANN warns of domain dispute swindle

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) warns of a swindle by an organization claiming to be an approved domain-name dispute solver.

ICANN, the organization that oversees the Internet's addressing system, said this week that it has received many reports of domain name registrants receiving mailings from an entity calling itself XChange Dispute Resolution and claiming to be an ICANN authorized arbitrator in domain name dispute cases, which it is not.

In the mailing, XChange Dispute Resolution states it received a domain dispute-resolution complaint and asks the domain name holder to mail a deposit of between US$250 and $1250 to defend ownership of a domain. If the recipient takes no action, rights to the domain are forfeited, the mailing states, according to ICANN.

Not only is this entity not approved by ICANN, the Uniform Domain-Name Resolution Policy (UDRP) also does not allow dispute resolution providers to demand a deposit from registrants and does not deprive registrants of the rights to their domain names solely because of a failure to reply to a notice of a dispute, ICANN said.

Approved dispute-resolution service providers are listed on ICANN's Web site. Domain name owners who receive the false notice should inform law enforcement or forward it to ICANN, which may pass it on to the appropriate authorities, ICANN said.

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