LIC insurance agents take to URL hijacking to mislead customers
After trying out every trick in the book, insurance agents are now coming up with misleading domain names that mimic LIC’s official website
Insurance agents are trying to typo-squat to garner business. Typo-squatting is a form of cyber-squatting which relies on typographical errors made by Internet users when they try to key in a website address on a browser. If you accidentally enter an incorrect website address, you may be led to an alternative website owned by the typo-squatter.
A few sites run by agents are openly trying to imitate the official website of the Life Insurance Corporation (LIC) of India, (http://www.licindia.in).
All these sites appear to be like the official website of LIC-some of them even have the insurer's logo in place. Here are just a few of them:
"These sites look like the official LIC website, but they are run by LIC agents who are openly using the company's logo and giving out mobile numbers. They are not revealing the name and address of the owners of these websites," an insurance expert told Moneylife.
Most of these sites carry an LIC logo on their URLs, making potential consumers believe that they are accessing the official site of the State-run insurer. This activity is being followed by a number of unscrupulous operators across the globe.
For example, it is quite possible for any potential customer searching for the official or the authentic LIC website to stumble across any of the 'typo-squatted' websites detailed above.
"Tomorrow someone may create a website like www.licpayment.com and collect online premium payment on LIC's behalf and cheat thousands of policyholders," the insurance expert added. Such portals make it easier for agents to garner money from gullible investors to buy insurance from the company.
An industry source tells us that in order for an insurance agent to put up his website using the company's name, he needs approval from the company.
We tried getting in touch with top LIC officials and sent them emails for their response on this issue. Among those contacted were Rajesh Kandwal (executive director), HSB Sinha (secretary-marketing), RR Nair (director and chief executive officer), DK Mehrotra (managing director) and
TS Vijayan (chairman). None of them have responded so far.
However, an official from LIC told Moneylife, preferring anonymity, "We don't authorise anyone to start a website using LIC's name." However, what we are really interested in knowing is, what exactly does LIC plan to do about it?
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