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My domain hijacked.

9:18 pm on May 12, 2009 (gmt 0)

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I registered <my website's domain> in 2003 and recently it became a victim of domain hijacking.

Someone hacked into my gmail A/C and got access to this domain and transferred it out without my knowledge. I had no way of finding out because He left the nameservers still pointing to where the website was hosted. Then, when everything was cleared out and it was under his control, He changed them and forced me to figure out what had happened.

Now I tried to retrieve this domain back because it is my only source of income; I contacted my registrar and the gaining registrar telling both of what had happened.

My registrar is a big corporation of sorts and did not want to go further with this without lawyers getting involved.

However, the gaining registrar looked into the authenticity of the transfer and realised the information He had used to transfer this domain was incorrect. The contact information was hidden to me because of "privacyprotect" but after contacting them and asking them for contact information of the domain I got access to the phone number/address and name He had used.

I got in touch with that person over the phone and She turned out to be unaware of anything that was going on and basically was a victim of identity theft herself. I had her contact the gaining registrar by emailing confirming this. At the same time the credit card He used to transfer this domain tagged the transaction fraudulent. He was asked to prove ownership of the domain and to show his real identity within 24 hours or it would come back to me.

He subsequently e-mailed without any identity clarification and asked the gaining registrar to transfer it back to the owner, in rather poor english.

Now, I had access to this domain through an A/C I made with the gaining registrar, and it was under my name again. BUT it didn't stay that way for long.

This domain has been locked right now and I got an e-mail from the registrar saying this person is in the process of filing. I don't have any further information over it except that the registrar got a "call" from a lawyer saying this person had bought this domain for 15k from me. I make around 5k from advertising alone on this domain.

Now I'm a little furious about all this because the gaining registrar still has no clue over what the identity of this person is; and even are skeptical on the authenticity of the call from the lawyer yet this domain has been locked until this is figured out.

I really want to know exactly what I should do at this point. I did not look into this guy further once I had my domain back because I was pretty sure there was no way I could track him down. Now I need to somehow and put him behind bars for all the tension He's causing me.

Also, I'm so unaware of everything that's going on; for instance I don't know where He has filed this dispute; I haven't been served any papers from the lawyer. There is nothing in written over this dispute and I believe He's still unknown and might have fabricated the call, but how can registrars buy into this?

The gaining registrar says ICANN asked them to put this domain on a lock until the issue is resolved; so I wonder how He got in touch with ICANN and had the power to do all of this while staying anonymous? But if in fact He's someone, how can I know who the hell He is?

[edited by: Webwork at 10:48 am (utc) on May 13, 2009]

4:08 am on May 13, 2009 (gmt 0)

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I really want to know exactly what I should do at this point.

Unfortunately, talk to a lawyer. One who's especially familiar with these things.

And mod WebWork is one. :)


5:31 am on May 13, 2009 (gmt 0)

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ICANN must be knowing 'He's identity. They would not heed anonymous requests.
4:45 pm on May 14, 2009 (gmt 0)

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I'd keep on top of this by telephone calls, faxed letters, letters sent by FedEx to the office(s) of the top executive(s) of the registrar's involved.

You might want to retain an attorney with offices in the State of the headquarters of the registrar that ignores your efforts.

If you check the domain dispute/arbitration services (National Arbitration Forum, WIPO) you will see that certain lawyers repeatedly represent domain registrants. I suggest you retain one of those lawyers NOW. Given what's at stake now is not the time to rely on free legal advice, nor is it the time to "go cheap". Retain counsel, recover the domain and then lock it down using some version of "executive lock" that locks transfers unless certain additional security protocols are followed.

4:00 am on May 16, 2009 (gmt 0)

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That's a big problem you hava a try to contact your domain registrar corporation. ask they what happened?