Fraudsters are using .ch domain names for scams where customers are lured in by brand-name products and then ripped off. SWITCH is working with the Swiss authorities to nip these frauds in the bud as early as possible.
These professional-looking online shops usually sell trainers or other accessories from big-name brands at unbeatable prices. Multiple dangers await buyers on these sites: they give criminal organisations access to their credit card details and email and postal addresses, and receive fake products – or none at all – in return.
When the Federal Office of Police (fedpol) or another authority such as the Federal Gaming Board (FGB), the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) or Swissmedic encounters a dubious website, it often turns to SWITCH. It’s usually impossible to contact the domain name owner, as they have registered using a false or foreign address, and taking action against a website operator abroad requires a very time-consuming legal process.
If an authority suspects cybercrime and turns to SWITCH for assistance. The foundation then requests that the owner provide a valid Swiss address within 30 days. This request is fulfilled in less than one percent of cases. If the deadline passes without a response, SWITCH deletes the domain name and the website is no longer accessible.
SWITCH’s security experts have been actively and successfully combating cybercrimes such as phishing scams and malware for years, and we act just as decisively against fraudulent online shops.
In 2016, the Swiss authorities asked SWITCH to request a valid contact address from a domain name owner in a total of 737 cases. There have already been 5,075 cases since the beginning of this year. In order to manage the greatly increased number of requests, SWITCH recently introduced a tool to automate request processing. This enabled us to remove 4,469 fraudulent websites from the internet in August 2017 alone.
All these measures aim to maintain the trustworthiness and security of .ch domain names and to protect them from abuse. The close cooperation between SWITCH and the authorities in the case of fake online shops represents a further step towards quality maintenance for .ch, the most secure top level domain (TLD) in Europe.