Brit on trial for website scams
A 23-year-old man stood trial yesterday, alleged to have netted £1.6m from bogus website registration scams, reports the Times.
The court heard that for five years, Peter Francis-Macrae operated spam email and junk mail-based deceptions to either fool victims into believing he was registering the upcoming .eu domains on their behalf, or duping them that existing domains they owned were due to expire and demanding renewal fees.
The spam scheme is alleged to have made the defendant some £100,000 a week, while the junk mail netted him £600,000. The funds fuelled a sartorial bent for Yves Saint Laurent attire as well as helicopter lessons, says the paper.
Francis-Macrae is also accused of threatening behaviour displayed when his actions were challenged. He is said to have threatened both to kill two women and to burn down Cambridgeshire trading standards department, and is also accused of blackmail, fraud and money laundering.
He is said to have threatened to bring down all .uk domains with a denial of service attack using botnets. Indeed he is alleged to have caused a denial of service attack of quite another sort when, on his first arrest, he sent a spam email duping recipients into calling a number. That number belonged to the Chief Constable of Cambridgeshire, with the effect that thousands of calls were placed to the switchboard, jamming the system.
Jonathan Robinson, business development director, NetNames said: ‘The Internet is fertile ground for scammers and the much anticipated launch of the new .eu domain is but another opportunity for them to potentially cash in. Consumers and organisations should only engage with professional, reputable and accredited domain name registrars and not instinctively place their trust in anyone just because they have a web site.’
The trial continues.