Apr 02, 2002
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Here's your chance to help the Web become safer for business:
This January when the trade magazine that journalist Charlotte Wolter worked for went under, she decided to launch the email
newsletter she'd been daydreaming about starting for years.
However, when she went to buy her dream domain name, NewTelephony.com, it was already taken by squatters who buy up 100s of names and then resell them. She notes, "The price they
asked was about half of what they asked two years before." After a bit of dickering, they settled and tossed in NewTelephony.net for another $200.
That's when the trouble started. Charlotte's credit card was double charged. Suddenly nobody would respond to her emails, faxes or phone calls. Although, after much pressure she got the ".com" name she wanted, the former owners didn't hand over the ".net" version she had paid extra for.
The company claimed to have offices in Miami, so Charlotte (who's based in California) called the Miami police. Miami Dade Police
Detective Michael Perez is now her personal hero. "He understood completely and immediately why a URL is important. It's your
storefront, your whole reason to exist. He went after these guys."
After personally investigating several locations, including misleading mail drops at a warehouse and an office the company had claimed were their own, he was able to track the culprits down and get Charlotte's .net address assigned to her as it should have been from the start.
According to Charlotte, Perez would like to continue fighting the real-world fight against Internet-related crimes, but his superiors are not so sure it's really important to spend limited tax-payers dollars this way. If you'd like to support Detective Perez's cause, you can write a postal mail letter to his superior
Major Robert Munecas
Miami Dade Police, Doral Station
9101 NW 20th Street
Miami FL 33172