New York Targets Scam Coronavirus Domains

New York attorney general Letitia James has asked GoDaddy and other domain name registrars to find out how they are guarding against the registration and misuse of coronavirus-related domains for deceptive advertising, phishing schemes, malware, and other virus-related hoaxes.

"While online scams tailored to major news events have been around for more than a decade, and there are legitimate uses of domain names with coronavirus in it, the current environment demands the highest vigilance," she told GoDaddy. 

James said she would welcome a dialog ASAP on how to better protect consumers from such scams, with a focus on the following: 

  1. "The use of automated and human review of domain name registration and traffic patterns to identify fraud; 
  2. "Human review of complaints from the public and law enforcement about fraudulent or illegal use of coronavirus domains, including creating special channels for such complaints;
  3. "Revising your terms of service to reserve aggressive enforcement for the illegal use of coronavirus domains; and
  4. "De-registration of the domains cited in the articles identified above that were registered at GoDaddy, and any holds in place on registering new domains related to coronavirus, or similar blockers that prevent rapid registration of coronavirus-related domains."
John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.