Customers siphoned off by typo scams

Customers siphoned off by typo scams

Typo-squatting is on the rise and UK sites are top targets

Consumers have a 1 in 14 chance of landing on a "squatted" site if they mis-type a web address.

Typo-squatters use common misspellings of popular brands, products and people to register domains. Consumers are redirected to alternative sites, which generate click-through advertising revenues and ensnare users in scams.

Businesses are losing customers and even being charged to re-acquire them, while squatters make money out of automated advertisement syndication services, says the research from security specialist McAfee.

Technology and Web 2.0 related sites are among the top five most highly-squatted categories. Game sites are the most vulnerable, followed by airlines'.

Outside the US, the UK is most likely to have problems with popular sites, followed by Portugal, Spain, France and Italy. The Netherlands is the least likely target, followed by Israel, Denmark, Brazil and Finland.

In 2006, cyber-squatting cases filed with the World Intellectual Property Organisation’s arbitration system increased by 25 per cent.