Report Abuse

If you have encountered a domain name that presents a problem you think should be addressed and if a Tucows registrar is the registrar for that domain name, this is the right page for you.

If you’re confused about whether Tucows is who you should report the issue to, that’s because the situation is confusing. We’ll do our best to make things clear. If you don’t need any explanations, click here to go straight to the list of types of reports you can file. (We still recommend you take a look at the explanation of when you should contact the site’s registrant, the site’s webhost, or us.)

The Tucows Family of Registrars (Ascio, Enom, EPAG, and OpenSRS) is here to help however we can.

Our commitment to you: respond, investigate, record, publish

  1. After receiving your report of abuse, we will respond with an acknowledgement of receipt, including a case number. Tucows uses Zendesk to track reports.
  2. We will investigate the issue you reported, as more fully discussed on this page.
  3. We will record your report, along with all other abuse reports.
  4. We will publish quarterly aggregated statistics about reported domains, report and reporter type, and the outcome. (See the Note on Privacy below.)

A note on privacy:

Tucows will never sell your personal information; see our Data Use Information page here. With certain types of complaints, we may need to disclose your email address and the nature of your complaint to the registrant, reseller, or a trusted third-party organization. We may also disclose your “reporter type” in our quarterly report: it is relevant, for example, to know when a report comes from a law enforcement agency, an intellectual property lawyer, or other certain types of reporters.

For an in-depth discussion of Tucows’ commitment to being a responsible domain registrar, see our Responsible Registrar Framework. For an explanation of the powers and authority that registrars do and do not have, see the Power of a Registrar.

The common mistake nearly everyone makes

Before you proceed to report an issue, you should be aware of a very common error:

Domain registrars like Ascio, Enom, EPAG, and OpenSRS (the Tucows family of registrars) only maintain the system of domain names (such as example.org or tucows.com) that uniquely label sites. Domain name registrars are not responsible for the content of the sites those domain names point to.

This means that, if you don’t like a website or its content, you should bring that issue first to the domain owner and then to the service that hosts that site.

Contacting a domain owner

The registrant (or domain owner) can be contacted in many ways.

  1. On their website (look for “Contact Us” or “About Us”). This is always the best way to contact a website owner.
  2. If they don’t have a Contact Us page, you can perform a Whois lookup (look for “Registrant Email”).
  3. For domains using a Tucows Whois privacy service, you can send a message using the Contact Privacy form.

Tucows cannot help you with requests regarding content.

Finding the web host

Identifying a website’s hosting provider is more complex than it should be.

You should start by doing a Whois lookup. Look for “Name Server” in the response; the URL shown after “Name Server” usually points to the place where the website and related services are hosted.

For example, here are the Name Servers for wikipedia.org:

  • Name Server: ns0.wikimedia.org
  • Name Server: ns2.wikimedia.org
  • Name Server: ns1.wikimedia.org

You care only about the last part: “wikimedia.org”. It’s the web host for Wikipedia’s sites.

Sometimes the Name Server information is less helpful; for millions of sites, the Name Server information will look like this:

  • Name Server: alex.ns.cloudflare.com

Cloudflare is a content delivery network, not a web host, widely used to speed up access to sites or protect them. In cases like this, you can go to the domain listed in the Name Server fields to see if it lets you find more information about the domain name’s web hosting provider.

Yes, we at Tucows do consider the difficulty of finding a website’s host to be a weakness in the system.

Abuse report forms

Select the appropriate form from the options below:

Phishing and Pharming

Spam

Malware and Botnets

Pharmacy Complaints

Domain Name Hijacking

Inaccurate Whois

Intellectual Property Concerns

Someone is saying something about me that I don’t like

CSAM

Terrorism

Other Illegal Activity 

Phishing and pharming

Definition: Phishing is the attempt to obtain sensitive personal, corporate, or financial information (e.g. account numbers, login IDs, passwords, payment details) through fraudulent or “look-alike” emails or websites that purposefully masquerade as trustworthy sources. Pharming is redirection to fraudulent websites or services. Often, phishing and pharming happen at the same time.

What you can do: To report phishing or pharming involving a Tucows domain name, submit a report via our Phishing Report form.

What will happen: Upon receiving such a request, Tucows will:

  • Respond with a case number
  • Add the site and the category, date, and resolution of your complaint to our internal database. Your personal information will not be recorded there.
  • Provide a link to our quarterly report about how many complaints have been lodged at Tucows.
  • Review the site.
  • If it is clearly a phishing or pharming site, we will either expeditiously reset its Name Servers, so that they do not point to any site, or work with the registrant to resolve an issue where a malicious actor has gained control of their site to use it for phishing or pharming.

Malware and botnets

Definition: Malware, an abbreviation of “malicious software”, describes programs designed to damage or gain access to a computer without the knowledge of the owner. Botnets are collections of Internet-connected computers that have been infected with malware and commanded to perform activities under the control of a remote administrator.

What you can do: If you wish to have a malware or botnet issue addressed, it’s best to contact your Internet Service Provider (ISP) or the webhost of the source of the malware or botnet.

You can also attempt to communicate with the actual domain owner, as they may be unaware of the issue. You may be able to find their information or a link to a form you can use to contact them by performing a Whois lookup; look for a line that begins “Registrant Email”.

If you still think we can help, please submit a report via our Malware Report form.

What will happen: Upon receiving such a request, Tucows will:

  • Respond with a case number.
  • Add the site and the category, date, and resolution of your complaint to our internal database. Your personal information will not be recorded there.
  • Provide a link to our quarterly report about how many complaints have been lodged at Tucows.
  • Review the site.
  • If it is clearly a malware or botnet-infected site, we will either expeditiously reset its Name Servers, so that it does not resolve, or work with the registrant to resolve an issue where a malicious actor has gained control of their site to use it maliciously.

Spam

Definition: Spam is unsolicited bulk email that the recipient has not granted permission to be sent and, where the message was sent as part of a larger collection of messages, all having substantively identical content used to distribute phishing, pharming, malware, or botnets. Spam is not email sent to you from a company you have a relationship with, even if that relationship is tenuous.

What you can do: If you wish to have a spam issue addressed, it’s best to contact your Internet Service Provider (ISP) or the webhost of the source of the spam.

You can also attempt to communicate with the actual domain owner, as they may be unaware of the issue: domain names are sometimes hijacked by bad actors and Tucows can help the domain owner fix this issue. You may be able to find their information or a link to a form you can use to contact them by performing a Whois lookup; look for a line that begins “Registrant Email.”

Most email clients—Gmail, Apple’s Mail app, or whatever you use to read and send emails—will let you filter out email from particular addresses or emails that satisfy certain other criteria. You can typically put them into a dedicated “junk” or “spam” folder or send them straight to the trash. In your email client, search for “mark as spam”.

If you still think we can help, please submit a phishing, pharming, or malware report form.

What will happen: Upon receiving such a request, Tucows will:

  • Respond with a case number
  • Add the site and the category, date, and resolution of your complaint to our internal database. Your personal information will not be recorded there.
  • Provide a link to our quarterly report about how many complaints have been lodged at Tucows.

Pharmacy complaints

Definition: An online pharmacy may be considered abusive if it is selling:

  • fake, adulterated, or unlicensed medication;
  • genuine or regulated medication but not dispensed by a licensed pharmacist;
  • prescription drugs without requiring valid prescriptions; or
  • opioids.

Please note that a site may look like a false pharmaceutical site but still be licensed to do business in a different jurisdiction. The Internet is global, after all.

What you can do: Submit a Pharmacy Complaint form to Tucows.

What will happen: Upon receiving such a request, Tucows will:

  • Respond with a case number.
  • Request the site to provide us with their license to do business; we work with a third party to review these licenses for validity. We may also report the site to relevant law enforcement to review for illegal activity.
  • Add the site and the category, date, and resolution of your complaint to our internal database. Your personal information will not be recorded there.
  • If the site does not have a valid license or is participating in illegal activity, the domain will be disabled.

Domain name hijacking

Definition: Domain hijacking, also called domain theft, is the unauthorized transfer of a domain name. It occurs when a domain name is transferred to a new registrar or the ownership information is updated against the owner’s will.

What you can do: Submit a Hijacking Complaint form to Tucows.

What will happen: Upon receiving such a request, Tucows will:

  • Respond with a case number.
  • Investigate your complaint.
  • Add the site and the category, date, and resolution of your complaint to our internal database. Your personal information will not be recorded there.
  • Confirm that you are the former domain owner.
  • Work with the current registrar to return your domain to you. We will keep you up to date about the status of this return and if we need any additional information or help from you.

Inaccurate Whois

Definition: Domain owners are required to keep their Whois records up-to-date; registrars are tasked with making sure that their customers do so and ensuring that all claims of inaccuracy are investigated. When there is a mistake in a Whois record, you can report that to the registrar.

What you can do: Please submit your complaint here, making sure to tell us which specific pieces of data are incorrect.

What will happen: Upon receiving such a request, Tucows will:

  • Respond with a case number.
  • Investigate your complaint, asking the current registrant to update or confirm their current Whois information.
  • Add the site and the category, date, and resolution of your complaint to our internal database. Your personal information will not be recorded there.

Intellectual property concerns (including DMCA)

Definition: This cluster of violations include infringement upon any intellectual property rights (copyright, trademark, or patent). The DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) is a US law that, among other things, addresses online copyright infringement in particular.

What you can do: Submit a report to the domain name registrant. You may contact them using information you find by performing a Whois lookup; this might be a link to a contact form or it might be their email address. Look for a line that begins “Registrant Email”. If they are using our Whois privacy service, you can use the Contact Privacy form. If you still think Tucows can help you, you may submit a report here.

What will happen: Upon receiving such a request, Tucows will:

  • Respond with a case number.
  • Investigate your complaint.
  • Add the site and the category, date, and resolution of your complaint to our internal database. Your personal information will not be recorded there.

Note that we have no control over website content on domains registered with any of our registrars.

Someone is saying something about me that I don’t like.

Definition: If a website has information about you that you don’t want them to display, you should reach out to the registrant directly. In some cases, posting information about you may be illegal: this may include harassment, defamation, not fulfilling your right to be forgotten, and non-consensual sharing of intimate photos. You should always report illegal activity to your local law enforcement agency. Tucows cannot determine whether something is illegal or not but regularly works with law enforcement agencies around the world to combat illegal activity online.

What you can do: Submit a report to the domain name registrant. You may contact them using information you find by performing a Whois lookup; this might be a link to a contact form or it might be their email address. Look for a line that begins “Registrant Email”. If they are using our Whois privacy service, you can use the Contact Privacy form. If you have a court order instructing Tucows to enforce your rights against a site, you may submit it here.

What will happen: Upon receiving such a request, Tucows will:

  • Respond with a case number.
  • Investigate your complaint, including validating the order. Please note that Tucows registrars only accept court orders issued by or domesticated into the courts of Canada, Denmark, Germany, or the United States.
  • Add the site and the category, date, and resolution of your complaint to our internal database. Your personal information will not be recorded there.
  • We will inform the domain name registrant of the order against their domain so that they can object in the appropriate court of law or otherwise allow them appropriate due process.

Note that we have no control over website content on domains registered with any of our registrars.

CSAM

Definition: Child sexual abuse material (CSAM) includes imagery or videos that show a person who is a minor and engaged in or is depicted as being engaged in sexual activity.

What you can do: Immediately report CSAM to the appropriate authority in your country. You can find out who that is on the INHOPE website.

Note that Tucows cannot validate allegations of CSAM. We are not even allowed to ask employees to confirm the reported presence of CSAM. When we receive allegations of CSAM, we report them to the Canadian Center for Child Protection, Anmeldet, Jugendschutz, and/or National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, as appropriate and as required by law.

You can also submit a report to the domain name registrant. Most photo forums and other websites do not want to harbor CSAM and will take swift action upon learning of illegal content on their sites. You may contact them using information you find by performing a Whois lookup; this might be a link to a contact form or it might be their email address. Look for a line that begins “Registrant Email”. If they are using our Whois privacy service, you can use the Contact Privacy form.

If you are law enforcement submitting a court order or subpoena to Tucows, you may submit it here.

What will happen: Upon receiving such a request, Tucows will:

  • Respond with a case number.
  • Investigate your complaint, including validating the order. Please note that Tucows registrars only accept court orders issued by or domesticated into the courts of Canada, Denmark, Germany, or the United States.
  • Add the site and the category, date, and resolution of your complaint to our internal database. Your personal information will not be recorded there.
  • We will inform the domain name registrant of the order against their domain so that they can object in the appropriate court of law or otherwise allow them appropriate due process.

Terrorism

Definition: The United Nations defines terrorism as any act intended to cause death or serious bodily harm to civilians or non-combatants with the purpose of intimidating a population or compelling a government or an international organization to do or abstain from doing any act. We work with the United Nations’ Security Council Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate (Tech Against Terrorism) to validate reports of terrorism.

What you can do: You should always report illegal activity to your local law enforcement agency. Tucows cannot determine whether something is illegal or not but regularly works with law enforcement agencies around the world to combat illegal activity online. You can also submit a report to the domain name registrant. Most registrants and website owners do not want to harbor terrorists and will take swift action upon learning of illegal content on their sites. You may contact them using information you find by performing a Whois lookup; this might be a link to a contact form or it might be their email address. Look for a line that begins “Registrant Email”. If they are using our Whois privacy service, you can use the Contact Privacy form.

If you are law enforcement submitting a court order or subpoena to Tucows, you may submit it here.

What will happen: Upon receiving such a request, Tucows will:

  • Respond with a case number.
  • Investigate your complaint, including validating the order. Please note that Tucows registrars only accept court orders issued by or domesticated into the courts of Canada, Denmark, Germany, or the United States.
  • Add the site and the category, date, and resolution of your complaint to our internal database. Your personal information will not be recorded there.
  • We will inform the domain name registrant of the order against their domain so that they can object in the appropriate court of law or otherwise allow them appropriate due process.

Other illegal activity

Definition: We cannot list out all other possible illegal activity that you might encounter online because almost anything that is illegal offline can also be done online. Most people use the Internet for great reasons but some people use it to nefarious purposes.

What you can do: You should always report illegal activity to your local law enforcement agency. Tucows cannot determine whether something is illegal or not but regularly works with law enforcement agencies around the world to combat illegal activity online. You can also submit a report to the domain name registrant. Most registrants and website owners also do not want to encourage illegal activity and will take swift action upon learning of illegal content on their sites. You may contact them using information you find by performing a Whois lookup; this might be a link to a contact form or it might be their email address. Look for a line that begins “Registrant Email”. If they are using our Whois privacy service, you can use the Contact Privacy form.

If you are law enforcement submitting a court order or subpoena to Tucows or otherwise have a court order instructing Tucows to enforce action against a site, you may submit it here.

What will happen: Upon receiving such a request, Tucows will:

  • Respond with a case number.
  • Investigate your complaint, including validating the order. Please note that Tucows registrars only accept court orders issued by or domesticated into the courts of Canada, Denmark, Germany, or the United States.
  • Add the site and the category, date, and resolution of your complaint to our internal database. Your personal information will not be recorded there.
  • We will inform the domain name registrant of the order against their domain so that they can object in the appropriate court of law or otherwise allow them appropriate due process.