Often, these domains are then used to commit financial crimes on the Internet.
In most of the recent disasters, most notably the Katrina hurricane, some of these look alike domain names were sold for a lot of money.
Sadly, these look-alike domain names, which victimize people and businesses, are being sold legally.
These look alike domain names are used in phishing scams, also. If you ever want to see a lot of fake websites, that appear to be real, visit Artists Against 419 and go to their Lad Vampire page.
Dibya Sarkar of the Washington Post is reporting about a coalition lobbying Congress to stop making this activity (like most crime on the Internet) too easy to accomplish:
Well-known companies such as Dell Inc., Yahoo Inc. and Marriott International Inc. are lobbying Congress for tougher laws targeting online scammers who profit from their brand names.
United as the Coalition Against Domain Name Abuse, 10 companies have hired the law firm Alston and Bird LLP to persuade federal lawmakers of the need to crack down against those who claim Web addresses, or domain names, that include _ or even resemble _ a legitimate company's trademark.
Washington Post story, here.
The coalition has set up a website, that anyone can join:
The Coalition Against Domain Name Abuse
The Post article failed to mention all the businesses backing the coalition. The entire list is located, here.