Moving From Dot-Com to Not-Com

That was the headline in a really interesting recent Business Week story. Some of the biggest frauds happen by crooks sending spam email called phishing pretending they’re the Royal Bank, Paypal, investment brokers, and other trusted companies. In the last week alone, I received over a dozen. The common one is that there’s been unusual activity in my Bank of Montreal account. Click here and verify it wasn’t you. Well, I don’t deal there, but the crooks are sending millions of emails and lots of people do deal with them. The address shows something like Bank of Montreal fraud alert.com.

Everybody knows the dot-com addresses. The Bank of Montreal owns it. So when people see the bank name – or whoever – they think it’s legitimate. But some crook spent ten bucks registering something similar that’s not the real Bank of Montreal site.

Anyone can buy anything not already used ending in dot-com. That’s about to change: For almost $200,000 companies can now buy their name after the dot – instead of before. So you’ll soon see dot-bank of montreal or dot-Walmart. That makes it impossible for crooks to spoof the site and buy something to pretend they’re your bank, or whoever. It’ll be weird to type in accounts dot bank of montreal but it’ll totally protect companies from anyone else creating pages to imitate them.

These so-called self-branded domains have been sold to thousands of companies already. The first one has already converted: Barclays Bank shut down their Barclays.com and moved to home.barclays. Now customers will know they’re dealing with the real company.

And a moment of silence for some sad news: Visa and MasterCard aren’t happy…he says sarcastically.

Both Visa and MasterCard thought they’d experience a huge increase in business and profits with the drop of gas prices in North America. The logic from them, and from analysts, was that consumers paying a lot less for gas would get them to spend the savings on a ton of other stuff…on credit cards of course – massively increasing their profits.

It turns out that’s not happening at all. People are still charging at the pump. But lower gas prices equates to a lot lower amount for card issuers. That’s a lot lower amount for credit card issuers. However, the savings aren’t being spent! I think that’s great…the card companies don’t. MasterCard says it’s cost them 2% in total card spending and Visa says it’s had “a significant negative impact” on their business and profits. On the upside, the average chequing account balance for Americans is now over $5,700. They’re saving the money instead of heading for the mall!

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