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14 Sep 2018
Advertising fraudsters lose lawsuit

Several Dutch businesses have been taken to court in recent months by fraudsters sending fake invoices. The defendants included companies who had reported the invoices to Fraud Help Desk. Some of them defended themselves in court, others received input from Fraud Help Desk.

The lawsuits were filed by a company that approaches businesses with the offer to register an extra domain name. The businesses are told that a third party has expressed interest in a domain name that is similar to theirs, only the extension is different. The businesses are pressurised to decide quickly. In reality, though, there are no such third parties.

The new web address costs approximately € 30 annually, but the snag is that registration is for the maximum term of fifteen years and the amount must be paid in advance. The businesses say they were approached aggressively by collection agencies as soon as they objected to these costs.

Under legislation covering advertising fraud that came into effect in 2016, it’s no longer up to defendant to prove, in a civil procedure, that there has been deception. The burden of proof lies with the advertising agency, in this case with the party offering domain names.

One of the defendants recently announced that it won the lawsuit. The verdict referred to the aforementioned legislation. The advertising agency failed to convince the judge that no ‘sales trick’ had been used. In recent weeks, businesses have won a number of similar cases.