While many of us are working from home due to the current pandemic, criminals and scammers are also hard at work from home and have been increasingly more brazen since the stay-at-home orders have been put into effect. In popular media, we see television shows such as “90 Day Fiancé,” “Catfish: The TV Show,” and others depicting people being scammed by unscrupulous individuals online who are pretending to be someone they are not. Those scams are often colloquially referred to as phishing or catfish scams. Not only do these scams affect and target individuals, but they also target businesses.
We have seen businesses, including law firms, be targeted with false emails from people purporting to be the CEO of the business asking someone to “do them a favor” and buy gift cards or wire money. However, while people are more keen on these scams, there are much more complex scams. For example, scammers have registered domain names that appear to be similar to a company’s domain name. They will add an extra character to the company’s domain name or trademark, or make an easily made mistake such as substitute “nn” in the domain name to an “m” or change a “t” to an “f” and therefore create a false, but official looking domain name or one that is easily mistaken with the official domain name. For example, I own the domain name nulud.com, but a scammer could create the domain name mulud.com or nu1ud.com and try to purport to be me. Creating such a domain name is not difficult, nor is it costly, which is why these scams are prevalent.