Facebook has announced its latest legal action to stop people misusing its platforms and branding, this time focused on a company which had been purchasing Facebook-like domain names with the intention of duping users via phishing scams.
As explained by Facebook:
“This week, we filed a lawsuit in Pennsylvania against New Ventures Services Corp. (NVSC), a company that has repeatedly engaged in cybersquatting activities. NVSC registered hundreds of lookalike domain names that could be used to deceive people by impersonating Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp.”
No doubt you’ve seen similar – every now and then, you’ll get an email from a company that seems a little suspicious, from a domain name that’s close to an actual business.
Note that the domain hosting this email address is ‘facbook.com’, not ‘Facebook’. To experienced web users this is a fairly obvious scam, but still, many users do get duped by such, and will end up unwittingly handing over their personal info because of such prompts.
In this specific case, Facebook says that NVSC had purchased a range of copycat domains, including ‘instagram-login.com’, ‘facebooked.net’ and ‘installwhatsapps.com’.
Facebook has been working to combat this type of fraud for some time, adding tools like an official ‘Recent emails from Facebook’ tab within the app to double-check on any communications sent from the company (there’s also one on Instagram).
But still, scammers will still try, and as such, legal action like this is an important step in combating such schemes.
It’s the latest in Facebook’s ongoing series of legal actions against platform misuse, designed to disincentivize criminal activity, and establish clear legal precedent for punishments around evolving forms of cybercrime. If Facebook is able to prosecute those undertaking such activities, that will help to deter future cases, and give Facebook clear legal ground to better enforce its platform rules.
This is an increasingly important element, which, beyond punishing these individual perpetrators, could also help facilitate the evolution of relevant laws for these emerging behaviors.
As such, it’s good to see Facebook continuing to seek legal recourse against such activities.
Also, ensure you remain aware of such scams, and check such emails judiciously.