FTC Warns Against 'No-Spam' Copycat Site

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The Federal Trade Commission warned consumers yesterday not to register with a Web site that claims to be the "National Do Not E-Mail Registry" and mimics the style of the national no-call Web site.


The site at unsub.us asks consumers to enter their e-mail addresses and promises that "E-Mail Marketers which use the Registry should not send offers to your E-mail address once it has been in the Registry for more than 48 hours." It also offers consumers a link to a complaint form should they get e-mails after the 48-hour period.


According to the FTC, unsub.us might be a scam to trick consumers into revealing their e-mail address and other personal information. The information could be sold to spammers or used in identity theft, the FTC said.


The FTC stated that unsub.us "mimics the language, look and navigation of the Web site for the national do-not-call registry, a legitimate free service of the federal government." In addition, the site links to DMNews.com under a link labeled "Information For Businesses."


Visitors can find a Spanish-language version by accessing one link. At least two of the links on the site are broken -- one labeled "Privacy and Security" and the other "Information for the Media."


DM News attempted to register an e-mail address to the site earlier this week. The address subsequently received an e-mail from "National Registry" with the subject line, "Your activation key is inside."


The e-mail contained a link it claimed had to be clicked to activate the registration. The first click on the link went to a page that appeared to confirm the registration, but subsequent clicks went to a page bearing only a line of text stating, "Not found in database."


The Web site also lets users enter e-mail addresses to verify registration, after which it says an e-mail will be sent to the address being verified. DM News attempted the procedure but received no verification e-mail.


This process appeared to mimic the national no-call list, which also requires consumers who register online to confirm their registration by clicking a link on an e-mail sent after they register.


The FTC did not specify who runs the Web site or whether legal action would be taken. Unsub.us is listed as a private registration by Internet Web registrar Network Solutions, and the only contact information provided is a Network Solutions mailing address.


A Network Solutions press representative said she would have to contact the registrar for further comment. DM News technical personnel who earlier had contacted Network Solutions staff about the link to DMNews.com were told to try contacting Unsub.us at the Network Solutions mailing address provided and then to contact the Network Solutions legal department.


One piece of information about unsub.us contained in its public Internet registration is that the site is hosted on three computers operated by host services provider BigData Networks. However, BigData's Web site at BigData.net contains no contact information, and much of the site appears to be broken.


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