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As you are all most likely aware already all domain registrars ask for your personal information.

Such personal information includes:

  • Forename and surname
  • Address information
  • Email address
  • Telephone number

Personal information via WHOIS

Depending on the domain type such as TLD or ccTLD this information may become immediately available after the registration of the domain via a simple whois. If you do not want that (and in most cases you certainly don't) they offer a service where you can remove this information from the whois service but of course hiding your personal information adds yearly costs to the domain purchase.

What happens if I use fake details when registering a domain?

migrated from superuser.com Mar 10 '11 at 18:04

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    On a related note: Some providers offer (for an extra free) "privacy protected domain registration". What does that mean? – Thilo Aug 14 '09 at 11:29
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    Are you asking about legal, ethical, or technical implications? – hasen j Aug 14 '09 at 16:10
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    @Thilo: which means they will register using their own information. If ICANN or a third registered entity needs to contact the owner of the domain, your registrar will provide the original info. – Andrew Moore Sep 26 '09 at 0:07
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    privacy protection service isn't available for all TLDs, i.e .fm – hikari May 13 '17 at 1:24
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    When I register a new domain I receive approx 5-10 calls per week for the next 2 months. All calls from India selling web design services. – William Entriken May 5 '18 at 19:41

12 Answers 12

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+50

ICANN (not the domain registrar) requires that all information in your registration be valid.

If any dispute arises (see the ICANN Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy rules here) you will be contacted via the means specified in your domain registration. Notice that section 14 of the rules is a section that defines what happens as part of a 'default' (in other words, they can't contact you): They'll proceed with a judgement, and you won't get a say in the proceedings.

ICANN has the power to take a domain from you and give it to somebody else.

So yes, it's important that you include valid information in your registration information.

For a comparison of a what a private domain registration looks like (compared to a regular domain registration) see this comparison: public vs. private.

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    Based on this answer; if you enter a valid email address that you can be contacted via, then, I assume, you should be OK – Baumr Jun 11 '13 at 14:45
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    @Baumr, I wouldn't assume that. AFAIK, a domain registrar has the option of interacting with you via physical (snail) mail. Network Solutions started doing domain registrations that way in the early 1990's and still allows you to update your information that way today: networksolutions.com/support/… – Dan Esparza Jun 11 '13 at 18:17
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    Here is a recent anecdote that shows how much this matters: jitbit.com/news/… – Dan Esparza May 23 '14 at 12:41
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    please note that ccTLDs are not subject to ICANN's rules and policies. – Alnitak Dec 1 '15 at 18:07
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    @Alnitak -- you are correct, but many times the ccTLDs choose to use the language of the existing policies by default. See wipo.int/amc/en/domains/rules/cctld/index.html for more information – Dan Esparza Sep 26 '18 at 12:21
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Personally, I wouldn't insert false data. Whilst you generally should not have problems, it is usually against the rules of the registrar you are using and for some TLD's, it is against the registry's rules.

If someone chooses to complain (for any reason) and they have no way to find out who owns the record, and they kick up enough fuss, it is possible that either the registrar or the registry will delete the domain.

However, if privacy is important for you, some places offer privacy for free.

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    Could you give examples of such places ? – Nikana Reklawyks Jul 19 '15 at 7:14
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    @NikanaReklawyks - there are loads... not sure on the rules of self promotion, so, I won't link... but, my company does it for free if people want. – wilhil Jul 19 '15 at 12:48
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    Namesilo offers free privacy. – GeekOnTheHill Jan 8 '18 at 4:09
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Yes, it matters!

At most registries it is a breach of their contract to supply incorrect information, and if caught they can cancel your domain name.

If the registration is for personal (non-trading) use then some registries (like .uk) offer an opt-out so that personal information is not revealed in the "whois" database. However the registry itself still requires your real information.

7

Well, I know this. If you are running a legit business or anything that makes profit, you want to use legit information for all legal reasons.

You are going against the registrars rules also by inserting false information. They could deny you services for violating those terms of use. You are legally purchasing a product that belongs to you and you want to make sure it belongs to you and not "Susie Sue".

5

Use private registration to avoid spam and any obvious ties to your organization.

This also lets you register and run a site like www.DirtyNastyOMGMyMotherWouldKillMeIfSheKnewIRanThisSite.com and not be the obvious owner while you work at www.KittensAndBunnyRabbitsForGoodHomes.com.

See GoDaddy's Private Registration

4

I believe that there is an ICANN reg that requires valid information for domain registrations. ICANN requests that registrars reverify the domain registration information periodically. Thus it is possible that you could suddenly find your domain to be inaccessible at some point if invalid information is used.

As you indicate, if you wish to keep your identity out of whois and such, various registrars offer a 'proxy' method of hiding your information. This service is generally not free and cost varies from registrar to registrar.

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    Just because GoDaddy and a few other shady registrars charge money for not giving out your private info doesn't mean this is the norm. All of the following registrars provide free private registration: DreamHost, 1and1, Names.com. Namescheap, Gandi.net, etc. – Lèse majesté Feb 15 '13 at 1:25
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Though we can't suggest you to give false information on registration, you can still get away with it can done finishing registration. But the problem only arises when some body claims your domain and if you want claim your domain in the future if controversy arisies is difficult to prove your ownership of that domain. In major numbers of registrants they don't care about your genuine information they take what ever you enter.

3

"is not possible to provide false information when you are going to register your domain" on which planet? If you are registering a .co.uk it is possible to choose to opt out of the public dissemination of your your details for free. As others have said, for instances where you are a bona fide company it makes more sense to publicly acknowledge your ownership of a domain. If you have valid reasons (and there are many) to retain your privacy, the annual fee for so doing is small. The net is chock-a-block with fraudulent or misleading registration details. The desire to avoid spam is not a good enough reason to fabricate an identity. If the purpose of your domain registration is legit, be out and proud! If it might cause embarrassment or itching, cough up the privacy fee.

3

You should vote with your wallet, and only register in the zones where you are satisfied with the privacy policy in regards to the personally identifying information. As mentioned, Nominet UK doesn't require UK Individuals to provide the full monty via whois.

For example, it is against Russian law to disseminate your personal information via whois, that's why all .ru domain names now appear to be registered to a "Private Person".

As for providing fake information? Not only can it get your registration annulled in pretty much any zone, but, depending on the TLD, it may also mean that you might not be able to transfer your domain name between registrars or assign it to different legal entities, since the registrar may require proof that you're the rightful owner, and you wouldn't have any.

3

It might best to contact your registrar and see how they handle specific situations. Not all domain extensions provide domain privacy, check before registering domain extensions.

Also note that there have been changes over the years (since this question was first asked) to now. Best to keep following ICANN's Privacy and Proxy Services

Since I have several domain extensions that currently do not offer domain privacy, I contacted a few registrars I've used... and they each had their own way of handling such a situation. This essentially leaves the choice up to you (and depending on your country's laws and regulations, there may be ways that can help you with it--more on this below)

To put it briefly: Anonymizing information may be safeguarding your identity...but it puts your ownership at serious risk.

Need Proof

The most important part across all that I've contacted is being able to provide proof.

One registrar told me that the names in the Contact Record/WHOIS used for your domain(s) must be valid. You should be able to provide proof of information validity. If you have a company or organization under that "fictitious" name, it would be fine with proper documentation.

You should enter information that can be supported by documents and identification. Best practice is that the information should closely resemble what the Registrant (you) is known as to the Registrar.

The risk is...If you put placeholder information like 'Domain Holder' or 'Domain Admin' and it is also being used by someone else, the Registrar may receive an external 'Fake WHOIS' complaint (often from ICANN) which results in a requirement for updated information or some level of domain suspension.

Another Registrar mentioned that it "varies from one registry to another". For them, the registrant's name could be along the lines 'Domain Admin' as long as the Address, Email, Phone, etc. is valid. But despite what they may say, it's likely best to follow what ICANN has to say about accuracy.

But there is a way...

I've researched that there are few ways you can go about "anonymizing" your information. In the U.S., one can file a "Doing Business As" (DBA) to use a fictitious name. Additionally, you can also register an LLC which you can use. While they do cost money, they can serve as proof of information. And, as others said, in the U.S., you can also use a P.O. Box as an address.

While there are ways to figure out who you are despite all this, it's more work than just flat out putting it out there. Before diving right into these options, research them or talk with a lawyer.

  • 1
    Well researched and documented answer. Legal entities would indeed suffice, even if their registrants or shareholders are unknown to the general public. I'd take caution with advice from reps at registrars however (as you noted), unless it's in writing from their legal department. I've been involved with UDRP's and trademark disputes on both sides, and inaccurate registrant information is the first thing litigants will point to when arguing rights and "bad faith". – dan Apr 7 '17 at 4:49
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It is illegal to provide false information when registering a domain name. The Intellectual Property Protection and Courts Amendments Act of 2004 makes it illegal, http://www.copyright.gov/legislation/pl108-482.html

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    Can you provide a specific quote where it is illegal by itself and not as an aggravation? – Bender Sep 25 '09 at 23:33
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    As with all things legal, has someone been charged with this and the conviction held up in court? – cjm Jul 24 '16 at 5:32
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This is an old question, but nowadays when you register a .com you will receive a verification email and if you don't click through the link within 15 days, your domain will be suspended without any further notification.

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