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Bank Domain Names Open to Misuse, Fraud, European Regulator Says

Plans to grant banks the use of new domain names such as .fin and .bank will make it harder for regulators to stop fraud, Europe’s top banking authority told the group in charge of the Internet’s address system.

The domain names “have a great potential” for “misuse by unscrupulous individuals,” Andrea Enria, chairman of the European Banking Authority, said in a letter to Barbara Clay, vice-president for communications at the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers. The plans for the names should be dropped, Enria said in the letter on the agency’s website.

American Express Co., Johnson & Johnson and Coca-Cola Co. are among more than 50 companies that signed a petition in November saying the domain name expansion would increase their costs and confuse consumers. They urged the U.S. Commerce Department to persuade ICANN to suspend the application period for the names, which closes April 12.

The EBA plans to issue an alert “warning consumers of banking services to the risks of these new naming conventions,” the London-based agency said in its opinion on the plans, also sent to ICANN.

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