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Defending Self In a Case of On-Line Identity Theft?

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the show-them-a-video-of-your-entire-life dept.

Businesses 390

SoccerDad41 writes "I am a systems administrator for an Indiana-based bricks-n-clicks retailer currently suspended because an unscrupulous typosquatter stole my name and registration information for his/her fraudulent domain registration. My company hired a third party service to protect their trademark by identifying and terminating infringing web sites. The third party identified a domain name, performed a WhoIs lookup & issued a complaint in compliance within ICANN's rules. This was presumably all reported back to our Legal department and it was noticed that the name on the domain registration matched mine. I have a locally uncommon ethnic last name so an immediate connection to me was made & although I protested my absolute innocence in the matter, I have been suspended on grounds of violating non-compete policies pending proof that it isn't me. The fraudulent domain registration was made with a different registrar (let's call them Registrar B) than the one my company uses (let's call them Registrar A). The public parts of the registration information at Registrar B match pretty exactly those of my legitimate domain registrations at Registrar A, including Registrar A's mailing address and phone number. The only things left out in the mailing address are the reference to a domain name and ATTN: Registrar A. Of course the anonymized email address differs as well. Surely I'm not the first in the Slashdot community to find myself in this situation. I'd like to avoid incurring the cost of a lawyer but I am intent on maintaining my good name and continued employment. What are my rights and responsibilities in this matter? What is my best course of action? How did you resolve this issue? How can I prove it's not me?"

cancel ×

390 comments

Uh, what? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33553856)

See a lawyer.

Re:Uh, what? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33553890)

And ask them what?

Re:Uh, what? (0, Troll)

rtfa-troll (1340807) | more than 3 years ago | (#33553966)

Something like: "I am a systems administrator for an Indiana-based....... What is my best course of action? How did you resolve this issue? How can I prove it's not me?"; Just cut and paste the question above; substitute real names and feed it to the lawyer.

Being serious; they need to prove it was you. Once you've identified a good lawyer to handle it, enjoy a free holiday as long as you possibly can; simply deny any connection but try to avoid helping them in any way.

The type of lawyer you want to see, incidentally, is "effective and brutal libel".

It's a bit late, now you've posted it on slashdot, I hope you lied about the details, but if you had any sense you would have started acting terribly emotionally damaged. Fake a suicide attempt. Find a friendly doctor to certify you depressed. Disappear into the wilderness on camping expeditions (so that you can have fun in an environment where it will be difficult to trace you) etc. etc.

Now that you have posted this on slashdot, probably your lawyer will advise you to prostrate yourself before the HR department; apoloigise for screwing up an internal investigation and offer to pay the company for the damage you've done. If he does that then just do what he says. He clearly knows beter than you do.

Re:Uh, what? (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 3 years ago | (#33554114)

"effective and brutal libel"

Google turned up nothing. Did you just make this up? Oh and yes I agree that hiring a lawyer is the best thing to do. The problem with dealing with employers is they can invent the most flimsy excuses (or just flat-out lies) to remove an employee, and there's little you can do to self-defend yourself. You really need the full weight of government and a court of law if you expect to win an unjustified termination lawsuit.

Re:Uh, what? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33554144)

if you had any sense you would have started acting terribly emotionally damaged. Fake a suicide attempt. Find a friendly doctor to certify you depressed. Disappear into the wilderness on camping expeditions (so that you can have fun in an environment where it will be difficult to trace you) etc. etc.

You are an asshole. It is people saying shit like you do that make people so cynical about people who have real mental health problems. Many people do not help friends, family, etc., because they assume people are faking and are trying to be manipulative when they talk about suicide or make suicide attempts. And the reason they think that way is because when non-depressed people talk about suicide, they typically talk about how they can use it to game the system.

So screw you. People die because of your cynicism.

Re:Uh, what? (5, Insightful)

Xiph (723935) | more than 3 years ago | (#33553898)

as many will presumably say: See a lawyer.

While slashdot can give you eggcelent legal advice, It'll hit you in the face that you don't play dice with the important parts of your life.

So please mods, don't put redundant to the people who say "Get a lawyer"

Re:Uh, what? (-1, Redundant)

AusIV (950840) | more than 3 years ago | (#33554238)

I agree that you shouldn't mod redundant to the first person who says "Get a lawyer" but about 50% of the comments here have no meaningful content other than "get a lawyer." They're contributing nothing to the thread, so "redundant" seems like a perfectly good assessment.

Re:Uh, what? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33553970)

Well the dude is a bone-blowing faggot and probably made the website to promote his cockfantasy.

It wasn't you? Fuck off dillsuck.

Re:Uh, what? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33553998)

You already have some good legal advice. First though is get an attorney. An attorney isn't just an advocate but an officer of the court. They have particular powers that you as an individual won't have. Finding a good technology attorney in Indiana is going to be difficult but you should be able to do it. Second the company is just protecting it's assets. Try not and pit the company against you, but you and the company against the infringing entity. That is how I would talk to your bosses and if their attorney is present yours should be too. You can take on the infringing party from a few avenues and I'd start using them all. The infringing party is likely to hide but a best effort or good faith effort on your part should make for a better legal case if the company does not realize how the attack is being perpetrated. If as you discussed the incident is in the pattern suggested the attack and response by the company are disjointed due to their misunderstanding of the situation. This leaves them vulnerable. You're suspended not fired try to make them see that you can assist them. Then for gosh sakes protect your domain information registration from now on.

Re:Uh, what? (2, Interesting)

NoTheory (580275) | more than 3 years ago | (#33554390)

This is a case of following the money. ICANN info isn't going to be helpful, so get back to the root of who paid for the domain registration, and make it clear that it is different from the listed registerer.

I am however somewhat surprised by/skeptical about this story. How did the poster's name and info get associated w/ this? This sounds like an inside job or there's additional info missing from this story (which may be due to just trying to remain anonymous-ish).

Re:Uh, what? (1)

catbutt (469582) | more than 3 years ago | (#33554016)

Although a lawyer is obviously a good idea, I think slashdot is the place to find people who will understand the technical sides of this, such as how ICANN works, etc. So I think its a great idea to solicit input from this community first.

Lawyers are expensive, and many of them are less than perfectly competent. With a complex technical issue like this, you could end up spending a ton of money if you don't do as much research as you can first.

Re:Uh, what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33554250)

There hardly is a technical side. If the person who registered the domain did a good job, there is no way to prove who it was or wasn't. There isn't really any authentication required before you register a domain. All the registrars care about is that they get paid. Normally that would prompt the usual "follow the money", but we're looking at a single payment and it's in the "wrong" direction. You could find the IP addresses from which the domain (or the web space) was registered, but if those addresses turn out to be some random person's home IP addresses where the wireless LAN is wide open or if it's a public hotspot, that's the end of that trace. That's it. Your only hope is that the domain was registered from home or paid with a credit card that isn't stolen. Not unlikely, the average criminal isn't known for smarts. On the other hand, there is a chance that Mr. Innocent here did in fact do it, possibly not thinking much about it, got caught and looks for a way out.

Re:Uh, what? (4, Funny)

russ1337 (938915) | more than 3 years ago | (#33554150)

I think this IS his lawyer. A lawyer who has no idea about domain registrations so asked slashdot.... by pretending to be the client...

tl;dr (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33553860)

If I were you, I'd hire a lawyer.

Re:tl;dr (0)

Anne Thwacks (531696) | more than 3 years ago | (#33554332)

I would hire a team of crack ninjas, as well as a lawyer or two. Plus advertise for the A-team.

Retain Shaggy as Counsel (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33553874)

Say it wasn't you.

Re:Retain Shaggy as Counsel (1)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | more than 3 years ago | (#33554124)

You missed the important part.

"It wasn't me, man!

IANAL but you should... (1)

aztektum (170569) | more than 3 years ago | (#33553880)

Contact a lawyer.

Don't talk to anyone. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33553884)

See subject, and also get a lawyer. A good lawyer is worth their weight in gold and you really do want this case to end up in court where the company you work for has to demonstrate that, despite your loyalty, you really did violate their non-compete clause. The moment they make accusations against you is the moment you should stop working for them.

Re:Don't talk to anyone. (4, Insightful)

sdnoob (917382) | more than 3 years ago | (#33554036)

A good lawyer is worth their weight in gold

better check your calculations....

weight of lawyer: 200 lbs
weight of lawyer: 2,916.67 troy ounces
price of gold : $1,246.72 USD per troy ounce
worth of lawyer : $3,636,270.82 USD

Re:Don't talk to anyone. (1)

TimSSG (1068536) | more than 3 years ago | (#33554334)

You have to factor in how rare a "Good" lawyer is in the USA. Note: You also have to define "Good". Tim S.

Re:Don't talk to anyone. (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33554472)

A good lawyer is worth their weight in gold

better check your calculations....

weight of lawyer: 200 lbs
weight of lawyer: 2,916.67 troy ounces
price of gold : $1,246.72 USD per troy ounce
worth of lawyer : $3,636,270.82 USD

His calculations aren't off. A merely average lawyer is worth well over $3 million [dba-oracle.com] over their career, a good one presumably quite a bit more.

Re:Don't talk to anyone. (1)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 3 years ago | (#33554190)

The moment they make accusations against you is the moment you should stop working for them.

Hell yeah. Instead of "Oh dear, it looks like someone stole your identity! Let our legal dept. help you clean that up." they instead went right to: "You're suspended. Oh, and we'll likely be firing you too, because we're obviously too stupid to do some fact-checking and common sense." My name happens to be ethnically-unique in this area too, but in its country of origin it's as common as "smith" or "jones". A "unique" name is often less unique than people think. I happen to know three of "me" (first and last name) that live in this state alone, and several more out of state. If a non-government-security-paranoid company decides to suspend you because a name matches (whether or not ID theft occurred), then they'll screw you over in other ways because they've proven that they're not employee-focused.

call your home insurance insurer (1)

AmazinglySmooth (1668735) | more than 3 years ago | (#33553886)

My insurer offers identity theft coverage. If your identity was stolen, call the police, file a report, and get your insurer to cough up the dough to fix it.

Begging the question (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33553892)

I am sorry you are in this unfortunate situation. However, you have begged the question, and ACCEPTED AS FACT that they presume you guilty and that YOU MUST PROVE YOUR INNOCENCE.

That's not how it works.

Please in writing request a meeting with your boss and the corporate counsel.

Explain simply these NONTECHNICAL FACTS:
1. You have done nothing to violate your terms of employment, your noncompete, or other agreements.
2. If the company has PROOF that YOU did it, it is THEIR responsibility to show it.
3. Until they do so, you want your job and pay FULLY reinstated.

Offer them a concession:
If they fear you MIGHT be a risk, they can PAY YOU, put you on a PAID BREAK until it is resolved.
Additionally ONCE they do so, you ARE WILLING to help them figure it out.

If they ask you a bunch of stupid questions like:
1. Why wouldn't you want to clear your name?
2. Why won't you volunteer information?
3. Can we search your home/hard drive/etc?
4. When did you stop beating your wife?

BE POLITE, BE RESPECTFUL, and tell them you ARE willing to be cooperative, but FIRST they must
restore the rights of yours they have trampled (job, pay, respect), and after that you will help them but
you will not give up your CIVIL or CONSTITUTIONALLY or LEGALLY protected rights to do so.

You don't need a lawyer for this unless they insist on not giving you job/pay back.

In that case, hire a lawyer and you'll be happy to find many who will take a case like this on contingency.

Innocent until proven guilty.

Never give up your right to be innocent by begging the question of "But why am I suddenly guilty."

E

Re:Begging the question (3, Funny)

JustOK (667959) | more than 3 years ago | (#33553914)

or get a lawyer.

Re:Begging the question (0)

Ernesto Alvarez (750678) | more than 3 years ago | (#33554014)

or get a lawyer.

More like "AND get a lawyer".

Your company has harmed you, and you'll need a lawyer for counteract that. They crossed a fine line when they suspended you. Of course, they might want to settle and that would be just fine, but it's not a matter of proving your innocence, your company has made a legally dubious move against you. The details, I wouldn't know, as I don't live in Indiana and I'm not a lawyer.

Seriously, you wouldn't hire a lawyer to administer your systems, so why would you get a system administrator for legal work?

In case I'm not clear enough: GET A LAWYER.

Re:Begging the question (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33554162)

I would first try to talk to my company management before hiring a lawyer. Simply explain that was not you who did it. They simply not sure it was you or not and to protect the company they had to suspend you. If it was really you, they don't want to risk more damage. Offer to help them clean up the mess and since the registration is in your name offer to transfer it to the company's name. I assume you contested the charges to the credit card used or whatever payment method used to pay for the domain. If the domain payment was not charge to you, I bet it was charged to a stolen credit card.

Re:Begging the question (2, Interesting)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 3 years ago | (#33554194)

No "ands" about it. Get a lawyer, make no moves that he or she has not advised you on. The company has already found you guilty, for all intents and purposes. Sometimes the mere fact that you let management know you have retained counsel will be enough to convince them to back off. If they let this go to a court of law, they're crazy. The flimsy way in which a lot of registrars allow domain registrations ought to be enough to convince a judge that the company needs more than same names to create a convincing chain of evidence.

But the first step is the lawyer. You need one. It sucks and will cost money, but to try to battle this on your own is to invite disaster.

Employment "at will"? (2, Insightful)

Roger W Moore (538166) | more than 3 years ago | (#33553968)

However, you have begged the question, and ACCEPTED AS FACT that they presume you guilty and that YOU MUST PROVE YOUR INNOCENCE.

Isn't that how it works in the US where you have (at least in some states) employment "at will" and it is very easy for a company to fire someone? The innocent until proven guilty only works for criminal cases. This sort of thing is exactly why you need laws protecting employees....of course he really needs to talk to a lawyer to see whether there are any such laws applicable here.

Re:Employment "at will"? (1)

DragonMantis (1327751) | more than 3 years ago | (#33554042)

But, in general, "at will" employment means they do not need to give a reason for termination. Once they start down a path with specified reasons, then they have other rules which come into play.

That said, to the OP: get a lawyer. The lawyer can spell out what specifically applies in local law.

Re:Employment "at will"? (2, Interesting)

Aquitaine (102097) | more than 3 years ago | (#33554066)

Yes, parent is correct. It is very difficult to protect employees with laws for this kind of thing, at least not without also protecting employees who are simply inept, have a rotten attitude, or are just plain old lazy. If a company decides you've done something that's perfectly legal but contrary to their policy, then in many states you can indeed be fired. Personally, as a business owner in an at-will state, I would say that any business who fires somebody over something like this without even a cursory investigation doesn't deserve a good employee, and if I were the employee, I'd go to the local news outlet with a story about how 'identity theft can cost you YOUR JOB' and not exactly tear apart my previous employee, but indicate that they just didn't care to dedicate the resources to uncover what went on.

In fact, while this doesn't happen in my line of work (thankfully), what you'll see in states with these legal protections is that, when your company decides they want to fire you for any reason at all, they just start the very long paper trail of documenting your 'poor performance and attitude' and xyz other legal requirements to fire you, so that when you do finally lose your job, you're a) completely unprepared and b) now have a paper trail of BS performance reviews and poor references. You might say 'well that's a dishonest company,' and indeed you'd be correct, but that's what happens when the government doesn't let two private parties resolve their differences through a more natural means: resentment builds up and the work environment tanks. I'd sooner work in an at-will state than one where I'm 'protected.'

Re:Employment "at will"? (1)

Roger W Moore (538166) | more than 3 years ago | (#33554184)

they just start the very long paper trail of documenting your 'poor performance and attitude' and xyz other legal requirements to fire you, so that when you do finally lose your job, you're a) completely unprepared and b) now have a paper trail of BS performance reviews and poor references.

I don't see how you can have both (a) and (b). If you get (b) then surely you can see the writing on the wall? However it is an interesting point of view. I grew up in the UK which has frankly insane employment protection laws that make it extremely hard to fire anyone even for appalling performance. But I still think that some level of protection is required. In this case the OP could get fired AND get poor references simply because the company can't be bothered to do its homework.

Re:Employment "at will"? (1)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 3 years ago | (#33554206)

Or sue the registrar for not verifying the identity of the person doing the domain registration.

It's time we ended both unverified registrations and "privacy protection" for domain registrations.

Not only will it make this sort of crime harder, but it will also reduce spam, since it will be a lot easier to track down the spammer (most of whom hide behind a bogus or "private" registration).

The other route is to simply have all dns servers return a "not found" when a domain registration is not confirmed or is "private". I'd love to see a firefox plugin that does that.

You actually need two lawyers... (1)

multimediavt (965608) | more than 3 years ago | (#33554232)

Isn't that how it works in the US where you have (at least in some states) employment "at will" and it is very easy for a company to fire someone? The innocent until proven guilty only works for criminal cases. This sort of thing is exactly why you need laws protecting employees....of course he really needs to talk to a lawyer to see whether there are any such laws applicable here.

The question you pose, again, reinforces the reason why you need to speak with a labor attorney in your state, and probably another attorney that deals with identity theft.

There are two things going on here, folks. One, his identity was stolen and used fraudulently. That's a criminal matter and you need to call the police and/or FBI. The outcome of that investigation then needs to flow into the civil labor case where you were unduly suspended from your job for something that is clearly out of character for you, and could cause additional undue damage to your career and reputation.

The identity theft is separate from the labor case, but one must be dealt with first in order to clear your name in the second.

Re:Begging the question (5, Informative)

cptdondo (59460) | more than 3 years ago | (#33554116)

Get a lawyer first. There's all sorts of things you can say that will screw you. Don't go talking to your employer without talking to a lawyer first.

I say this as a former business owner; the first thing I would have done as your employer is consult our attorney about the situation. If you request a meeting, chances are they will have corporate counsel there. I would have been acting on legal advice; so should you.

GET A LAWYER!

Re:Begging the question (5, Informative)

dougmc (70836) | more than 3 years ago | (#33554192)

"Innocent until proven guilty." ... only in criminal cases, and even then it's only "*presumed* innocent until proven guilty".

Fair or not, the best possible advice for this situation is to get a lawyer.

Re:Begging the question (1)

debatem1 (1087307) | more than 3 years ago | (#33554248)

This is terrible advice. The first thing you need to do is consult a lawyer- the consultation will almost always be free- and the first thing they will tell you is not to do exactly this kind of shit. It can only make things worse.

Re:Begging the question (2, Interesting)

rcamans (252182) | more than 3 years ago | (#33554286)

This sounds logical, but it is not true or even relevant in states like Texas, where a company can terminate you for any reason.
However, when you apply for unemployment, things can get tricky for the abusive company, and they can wind up paying unemployment.
This I am certain of, because it happened to me.

It is not the right to be innocent, like he stated above, but right to work, which does not actually exist in Texas.

Innocent is only applicable when the government comes after you whith officers of the law, not your employer. Unless your employer is the government. Then it gets worse, not better. Just ask that federal employee recently fired because some outsider distorted her remarks.

By the way, exactly how long has the anonymous coward replier above been living in his fantasy world?

Seek a Specialized Lawyer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33553894)

Research a lawyer who specializes in these types of cases. The American justice system requires effective legal counsel, which requires money (assuming this is where you live, but I am sure it holds true elsewhere); there's no way around it.

legal counsel (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33553896)

This one isn't even close. Ignore every advice in this thread except the ones that tell you to get a lawyer. That's what they're for. Both you and your employer will be thankful your did.

Re:legal counsel (1)

gavron (1300111) | more than 3 years ago | (#33554070)

> This one isn't even close.
> Ignore every advice in this thread except the ones that tell you to get a lawyer.

Use your judgment. Don't "ignore every advice" because someone on slashdot said so.

> That's what they're for.

When there is a legal conflict requiring expert representation -- THAT is what lawyers are for. If you can avoid the issue, you can avoid the lawyer. Sorry, lawyers.

> Both you and your employer will be thankful your did.

Your employer will NEVER be thankful you got a lawyer. Talk to your supervisor. Talk to your in-house counsel. Admit nothing, but offer to help. Make it clear you refuse to accept the presumption of guilt.

Best regards,

E

Dude, you need a lawyer (1)

fotoguzzi (230256) | more than 3 years ago | (#33553906)

Thread closed.

If you absolutely cannot hire an attorney... (5, Insightful)

crankyspice (63953) | more than 3 years ago | (#33553916)

Grab a Nolo book or two (check your library, or www.nolo.com), file a "pro se" lawsuit against John Does 1-20, and via that lawsuit subpoena the domain name registrar. Get everything they have, IP address(es) used to register the domain (i.e., load the website), etc. Get records from wherever the site was hosted. Get ISP records corresponding to the IP addresses in use by the person/people who registere the domain name / set up the website. Etc. Document, document, document. Then summarize it in a memo to your employer, citing to the documents you've uncovered (include them as labeled exhibits, e.g., "As you can see from the Billing Information Statement ("Billing"), attached hereto as Exhibit A...")

And then, as long as you're already wet, go swimming. If you can come close to identifying these asshats, amend the complaint and sue 'em. (Service might be tricky, but if you can satisfy the diligence requirement, most jurisdictions will allow substitute service by publication. Then go for the default judgment... Satisfying it will likely be impossible, but having a civil judgment in your favor can't hurt your attempts to remain employed and clear your name.)

Disclaimer, I am a lawyer, but I am not licensed in Indiana, this is not legal advice, this does not create an attorney-client relationship.

Re:If you absolutely cannot hire an attorney... (1)

Rene S. Hollan (1943) | more than 3 years ago | (#33553974)

Trouble is if is is in an "at will" employment state, they have every right to fire him without cause anyway, so all he could do is soil their reputation as unreasonable... if his employment contract does not forbid him from making disparaging remarks. About the only thing they probably can't make him do is honor non-compete agreements if he is fired -- courts frown on that.

Like I say, You can't be fired for the color of your skin, but you can be fired for the color of your eyes.

Re:If you absolutely cannot hire an attorney... (4, Funny)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | more than 3 years ago | (#33554156)

... this is not legal advice, this does not create an attorney-client relationship.

And these are not the droids you are looking for.

Re:If you absolutely cannot hire an attorney... (4, Insightful)

Kuo-Cheng (724370) | more than 3 years ago | (#33554236)

Not legal advice? By virtue of what -- not advising any particular action? Not being about legal matters? It makes you wonder. (This is not sarcastic rejoinder.)

Re:If you absolutely cannot hire an attorney... (1)

rakuen (1230808) | more than 3 years ago | (#33554356)

He's offering information and his opinion as an individual in the legal profession, as opposed to being the OPs actual counsel in a legal case. At least, that's how I would understand the difference.

Re:If you absolutely cannot hire an attorney... (1)

rcamans (252182) | more than 3 years ago | (#33554358)

Hey. Good legal advice? Man, this is slashdot. You know good legal advice is not allowed here.
We only permit crap legal advice that will further screw you, like what some anonymous cowards above posted.
We will be suing your backside immediately. Violation of the implied slashdot posting rulesf and all that that you agreed to sight unseen by posting on slashdot..
You are out of work, man.
Sayonara dude.

There's obviously more to this story (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33553926)

This sounds like a perfect example of a situation where there's lots more information that what we are given. It may be completely unrelated to the actual event, but is still relevant.

This falls under the category of "something weird". If a company really likes the employee involved with "something weird" they will probably believe the employee's story and not waste their time with legalities. If said employee is a nuisance (bad work ethic, loud mouth, does not get along well with others, causing problems, worthless at the job, superfluous) then this is a perfect chance to remove said employee without the hassle of unemployment, severance, back-pay, etc.

Basically, if the company wanted to keep the employee, this wouldn't be an issue. What's wrong is that the employee has been marked as unwanted, for whatever reason, and is currently being removed. The company chose this method because it looks legit on paper, but the real reason is probably completely unrelated.

The employee clearly doesn't realize this and is in complete shock as to why such a thing would interfere with his employment. The employee is looking for sympathy as, given the limited facts, this seems completely unfair. The employee should be looking outside the box to figure out why they were marked for removal.

Re:There's obviously more to this story (1)

rcamans (252182) | more than 3 years ago | (#33554422)

Actually, lots of companies in this economically downturned climate are just jumping at any reason to layoff or fire an employee. They don't care whether you are good, liked, essential, etc. Tis already happened to me and friends at a small company that had venture cap tired of losing money. And after they got rid of all the people they could, including several they could not do without, they went belly-up. So just try suing them.

"How can I prove it's not me?" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33553938)

A.: You can't. Steal yourself a new identity, preferrably a rich one, and then move to a country with no extradition treaties. Problem solved.

Legal department of company? (3, Interesting)

Z00L00K (682162) | more than 3 years ago | (#33553940)

Get in contact with a lawyer and check what your options are, but try to find a lawyer that knows what internet is about. Evidence on the net is always a tricky thing. If the registrar is in the country where you live you may have some legal options to use to get evidence behind who did the fraudulent registration.

If the domain points to a web server somewhere it's also possible to check who is owning that server and is behind the web page.

But if your address is on the registration you may actually be able to contact Registrar B and ask them to snail-mail you sufficient data to take control over the domain and then transfer it to the company that employs you. Go in and specify something like that you no longer is able to access the email account for the registration or something. When you are in control of it you may have a possibility to go back and ask them for logs about when it was registered and payment process. It's a case of following the money. However try the lawyer path first because if you find the money behind it then you can also find the culprit.

However placing you on suspension seems to be a bit hard, and you may have a case here too.

Re:Legal department of company? (2, Interesting)

erroneus (253617) | more than 3 years ago | (#33554446)

Those are all steps that the company should make. If he does it, he is "generating evidence" that may not count as proof of his innocence. But I seriously doubt that the company is interested in hiring anyone to do any fact finding to disprove what they already believe to be the case. We have seen it all a thousand times: Belief is stronger than proof. They will feel no need to collect proof of this innocence as they already believe they have sufficient proof of his guilt. And if you present proof of innocence, they will not even look at it. They have made up their minds.

I say, give us the details. There are ample sleuths on Slashdot to uncover the whole truth of details. If you want proof that doesn't come from you, let it come from us... and better, let us get the proof and let YOUR LAWYER sue the company that you will no longer work for (because let's face it, you can't work there any longer) for damages so that you can live well until you find another job.

You can't prove a negative. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33553946)

Sorry, but you can't prove it wasn't you, because everything you say can logically be countered with "Well you WOULD do that, do avoid detection". Domain registered in China at the exact time you were in a meeting with the CEO? "Well you arranged to do that with an online contact to make it look like someone else".

The onus should be on your company to prove it was you, not on you to prove it wasn't, but since you're *already* suspended you may not want to suggest this and antagonise your employer further.

Aside from going to a lawyer, I think the only argument you really have is that you'd have to be incredibly stupid to do this under your own name. You could appeal to the registrar to get it transferred into your company's account which might raise protests from the faker, supporting your argument, but the company may accuse you of offering to do that simply because 'you got caught'.

Re:You can't prove a negative. (1)

DarrenBaker (322210) | more than 3 years ago | (#33554068)

He doesn't need to prove it wasn't him. The employer needs to prove it was him.

Re:You can't prove a negative. (1)

topham (32406) | more than 3 years ago | (#33554148)

It's unlikely the employer has to prove anything at all.
Firing a system administrator is often easier than most employees.

Re:You can't prove a negative. (1)

flaming error (1041742) | more than 3 years ago | (#33554152)

In criminal court, that's right. But for better or worse, at-will employment means employers can fire us whenever they feel like it. There is no requirement for them to convince a jury we violated something in the employee manual.

Re:You can't prove a negative. (1)

Kaz Kylheku (1484) | more than 3 years ago | (#33554300)

No, they don't. The employer is not a criminal court of law. Rational suspicion of wrongdoing is enough to can someone.

And if he can't afford a lawyer to defend against this, what are the odds he can come up with one for a wrongful dismissal action?

2 Aspects To Consider (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33553952)

Do a search online for your name. If you can prove others have the name, it might help prove part of your case. The other obvious aspect here....Get a lawyer.

no lawyer ???? (1)

sugarmotor (621907) | more than 3 years ago | (#33553960)

Sounds like you do need a lawyer! Also sounds like it's urgent. Good luck! - Stephan

Give it Back (0)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 3 years ago | (#33553964)

Since the registration record lists you as the owner, transfer it immediately over to your company as the starting gesture of good faith. Then consider the advice already given here.

Re:Give it Back (1)

ascari (1400977) | more than 3 years ago | (#33554012)

Wouldn't that be conterproductive? "It ain't mine but I'm giving it back to you" For gods sake see a lawyer before you do that!!!!

Re:Give it Back (1)

flaming error (1041742) | more than 3 years ago | (#33554052)

I think you're right. Anyway, registrar B probably wouldn't let him without access to the creator's account. And his inability to login probably won't be enough to prove he's not the domain owner. I see no upside with this approach.

Re:Give it Back (1)

DarrenBaker (322210) | more than 3 years ago | (#33554076)

No, no, no, no, no, and... NO. Do not do this.

Re:Give it Back (1)

Kjella (173770) | more than 3 years ago | (#33554142)

Wouldn't that be a telltale sign of someone caught with their hand in the cookie jar? To the company, that could be seen as even clearer proof that you have been in control of this domain all along and trying to avoid a lawsuit on your ass. I would not touch that domain with a ten foot pole, if you're suspended with pay I'd say wait it out. If you're suspended without pay, dispute it and demand full compensation with interest from day one. Go see a lawyer to hear how long they can keep you suspended, I doubt it's long before being construed as a dismissal. On that note, you probably might want to brush up your resume just in case...

Gain control and terminate (3, Interesting)

Bitmanhome (254112) | more than 3 years ago | (#33553984)

I'm unclear on the problem. If the info at registrar B matches your info, then you can gain control of the account and terminate it. If it doesn't, then you'll have proof the lawsuit is baseless. If you can't get control, the denial letter from the registrar will serve as proof the lawsuit is baseless.

Of course, to use this proof in court, you'll need a lawyer. But hopefully just getting a lawyer will encourage your company to cool down and talk sense.

But once all this is over, you need to scrub your info from the registration and replace it with the company's info, since it's their domain. You'll then want to quit this job, since this company is more interested in lawsuits than business.

Tough one (2, Interesting)

ascari (1400977) | more than 3 years ago | (#33553986)

Wow. Two thoughts immediately come to mind:

1 - Seek some competent legal advice. Don't be a fucking moron: You're about to lose your job and reputation and maybe be sued out of existence and your biggest worry is to "avoid incurring the cost of a lawyer"? So you come to slashdot instead? Mindboggling. Maybe some other competent professional advice as well?

2 - Sounds like too many coincidences to convince a jury. To prove you've been framed you would have to find out who did it and how they benefited doing it or you'll just sound like your garden variety disgruntled employee / asshole too clever for is own good or something like that. If I were you I'd start looking for another job.

If I were you (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33553992)

I'd talk to a lawyer, and one of the first things I'd ask him is:

If the domain name is registered in my name, can't I force Registrar B to hand over account details to me?

Contact the registrar. (2, Interesting)

www.sorehands.com (142825) | more than 3 years ago | (#33554006)

If the whois information identifies you are the registrant, then contact the registrar. Identify yourself and take control of the domain name.

If the registrar refuses, include them in the lawsuit.

Re:Contact the registrar. (5, Insightful)

rainmouse (1784278) | more than 3 years ago | (#33554094)

Identify yourself and take control of the domain name.

This seems rather risky without legal consultation. It could be used to further incriminate you.

Re:Contact the registrar. (1)

Ernesto Alvarez (750678) | more than 3 years ago | (#33554096)

And if they comply, you would be proving you are indeed the squatter.

In other words, don't do it and contact a lawyer first. Once you're cleared, you could do it as a token gesture for your company.

The only thing the squatters can do to prevent you from doing the transfer at a later time would be to change the registration. Considering the situation, that would add evidence pointing to the real culprits.

STOP. GET A LAWYER. (4, Informative)

topham (32406) | more than 3 years ago | (#33554028)

GET A LAWYER.

Any further action on your part may be detrimental otherwise.

Lawyers. (4, Insightful)

Essequemodeia (1030028) | more than 3 years ago | (#33554058)

All lawyers are assholes until you need one.

Re:Lawyers. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33554204)

They are still assholes if you need one. Lawyers are a cancer that eats away at society. However, in our broken system if somebody threatens you, it's the only legal way to respond. "getting a lawyer" is the lesser evil compared to "getting fucked by the other guy's lawyer".

Really odd circumstances (5, Insightful)

BufferArea (794172) | more than 3 years ago | (#33554084)

Your id was stolen by someone to create a website that infringes on the trademark for a company that you work for? First, it's odd that somebody would steal your identity for the purpose of creating a website. But secondly, the website is one that infringes on the trademark for your company. And then your company actively looks for violations on this stuff? I think somebody wanted you fired. Possibly it is your own company - after all, they didn't need much 'proof' to suspend you, did they? If your company is big enough to have a legal dept, it seems they can afford to be (and should be) a little more thorough. Hire a lawyer.

Re:Really odd circumstances (2, Informative)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 3 years ago | (#33554280)

Indiana is an at-will state. They could have fired him for nothing, literally. If he's being "framed" then it's likely that it's someone not in HR at the company, and not his superiors either. It's more likely that someone not affiliated with the company just said "I want to run a scam in XYZ industry. Who's the head sysadmin for ABC, the local leaders in XYZ? Ah, got his email, now a few quick internet searches... perfect. Now my website looks totally legit. Cyber-Scam go!" They probably never thought the sysadmin would get in trouble for it.

timothy it was you~!!!! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33554102)

dude we talked about how risky this was last week :)

How do we know... (4, Interesting)

pongo000 (97357) | more than 3 years ago | (#33554106)

...that it wasn't you? Seriously, folks: Maybe this individual is guilty as charged, and he's asking us about ways to defend his actions, or how to create a web of plausible deniability. Think about it: If this situation really happened to a truly innocent party, with looming consequences of job loss (especially in the current economy), don't you think said party would seek the advice of counsel before airing out his laundry on /.?

I know some of us are always willing to lend a hand to a fellow geek, but sometimes I have to shake my head at how quickly some of you jump to defend an individual who claims to be innocent, framed, whatever.

Re:How do we know... (2, Interesting)

erroneus (253617) | more than 3 years ago | (#33554214)

I was thinking in the same direction. Why/How would someone out there know to use a particular trademarked name and to also use a particular person's name who is associated with the company as an IT person to register a domain name?!

I have a feeling that there's a bit more to know than we are being told. I would not discount the possibility that this guy actually did register the domain hoping his company would buy it from him for a tidy profit and it backfired... badly.

I think we are short on facts here and it would be good to be able to find them. Come forward with ALL the information such as the domain name in question and maybe, just MAYBE some smart geek here can actually track down the fraudster and determine whether or not it is the OP or not... and if not, find the proof that OP is requesting.

Paper trail (1)

flaming error (1041742) | more than 3 years ago | (#33554110)

Somebody paid to register that domain. Find out who it was. Maybe that means subpoenaing Registrar B for a credit card number or bank account, and subpoenaing the bank for the account holder's name.

"Identity theft" is just fraud, twisted around to make the impersonated customer the victim rather than the business that allowed it to happen. Fraud is a crime, and law enforcement should be involved. Of course, IANAL.

register a domain name using your boss's details (1)

kae_verens (523642) | more than 3 years ago | (#33554158)

If you can do this, then it proves how simple it is, and the onus is then on them to either /prove/ that you were the person that registered the domain name you're accused of, or accept that your boss has been registering domain-names without his/her own knowledge.

Get A Lawyer! STAT!! (4, Insightful)

BlueStrat (756137) | more than 3 years ago | (#33554166)

Consulting a lawyer is the only sensible thing to do at this point. Of course if you really want to go out in a blaze of irony, you could also register another domain in the head of HR's name or the CEO's name just as was done to you. :D

Strat

"uncommon ethnic last name" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33554168)

In the parlance of our times, "the thing speaks for itself"

You kidding with us, right? (5, Insightful)

pongo000 (97357) | more than 3 years ago | (#33554172)

I'd like to avoid incurring the cost of a lawyer but I am intent on maintaining my good name and continued employment.

Right...so let me get this straight: You stand a good chance of losing your job, affecting your life and your family's well-being, and you're too cheap to hire a lawyer? I'm sorry, but you really have your priorities out of whack if you think posting your woes on /. is time well spent.

Enemy Action dude... (1)

GuyFawkes (729054) | more than 3 years ago | (#33554176)

Way too many coincidental details to be a random ID thief, this is someone who knows you and who is out to bury you.

Hire a lawyer AND a PI.

Then sit back, STFU and let them do the work.

good luck.

Re:Enemy Action dude... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33554298)

Agreed. If he takes your advice, I'd give it about 1-3 months before the asshat who did this is brought before the court. Even though what has happened is extremely childish and screams of a juvenile's actions, this kid still needs to learn his lesson. What is the sentence for ID theft? 5 years?

it's too complicated, you must be guilty (1)

fkx (453233) | more than 3 years ago | (#33554198)

it's too complicated, you must be guilty

No one else would be able to set this up.

Know what I mean?

Who was the registrar? (1)

interval1066 (668936) | more than 3 years ago | (#33554216)

Was it GoDaddy?

Ironically... (1)

MikeRT (947531) | more than 3 years ago | (#33554228)

This is a perfect example of why the RIAA's recent win on getting ISP users' identities with a subpoena can be a good thing. He is the victim of a civil offense, just as the RIAA's members technically were. He only knows that some asshole John Doe has maligned his name by doing this. I'm actually glad the RIAA won that victory because it might help him clear his name.

And I say this as someone who normally thinks the RIAA should be thrown through a legal chipper shredder that begins with RICO, takes an intermission at Gitmo and ends in rendition to Syria...

um.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33554234)

Can X please take the stand? Interesting argument. Can the other X take the stand? Huh. Fascinating. Which one is real, I mean, the second one certainly has all the credentials. And a cute smile.

Identity theft: sucks.

Go to your Union Rep... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33554240)

Oh wait, right, you don't have a Union Rep. My bad.

Scorched Earth! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33554256)

Screw it you are already suspended, might as well go out in a blaze of glory. Transfer the domain immediately and point it at one of the goatse mirror sites.

Are you stupid? (1)

realmolo (574068) | more than 3 years ago | (#33554258)

Get a lawyer. OF COURSE get a lawyer.

Here's the thing with the legal system in the United States-

It's not if THE LAW is on your side, it's if THE JUDGE is on your side. The major benefit of hiring a lawyer, especially a "local" lawyer, is that he likely knows the judge personally. You likely don't. A lawyer will get things done that you can't, simply because he is part of the local "old boys club".

Basically, you have to hire a lawyer, because it shows that you are willing to "play ball", as they say. When you defend yourself, most judges think you are just being obnoxious, and aren't going to be very cooperative.

Get another job elsewhere. (1)

Kaz Kylheku (1484) | more than 3 years ago | (#33554268)

You are working for assholes who are assuming that the registration is yours even though you explained the situation.

Who would be dumb enough to register a domain which infringes on his employer's trademark somehow, and using his real name?

What for?

Billing Info / ISP Info (1)

huzur79 (1441705) | more than 3 years ago | (#33554270)

Sadly most advice from people here wont apply. We dont know Indian work place laws or legal system. But as many had said a lawyer is prob a good thing to get. The only thing that you could do to prove it was not you is obtain the billing information from the other company to show it was paid for by some one else. While they can put anything they want in the register information they would have had to use there own billing name to make the domain purchase. Now where I am in Canada a company cant just give out information like that due to privacy laws. Here it would require a lawyer to obtain that information. If the register is any decent and for there own protection from fraud they should maintain records of the IP address which registered it to. That can then be checked against the ISP and the identity for the owner of that account should be obtainable too.

Is Indiana employment under "at will" clause? (1)

ClamChowder (1354847) | more than 3 years ago | (#33554368)

I know in California your employment is considered "at will" if you're a regular employee, which basically means they can terminate your employment at any time, with or without a reason given. Since you're in Indiana, I don't believe you'd be employed under such statute, therefore you should have a full menu to legal recourse at your disposal. I would say - go sit down with a Lawyer and take them up on their free consolation at a minimum.

In texas at least.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33554376)

The employer can fire you for any reason at all.
So, it would be up to you to prove that this person is not you.

Employment rights are not the same as legal rights.

Guilty unless proven innocent.

think (1)

danwesnor (896499) | more than 3 years ago | (#33554378)

If they're going to fire you over something like this, consider the possibility that they were going to fire you anyway. If you're sure you're clean all around, hire a lawyer, but don't sic 'em on the company until you've been fired or want to get fired.

Before this happens get Identity Theft protection (1)

hawks5999 (588198) | more than 3 years ago | (#33554468)

I've used Identity Theft Shield for the last few years and it's helpful for taking care of this kind of thing. Tied to a legal plan, you have access to the legal representation you need as well. It's little money well spent:
http://bit.ly/aKbg6V [bit.ly]

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