Before doing business over the Internet, a word to the wise. We are in a global market indeed when it comes to the Net. Anyone, anywhere can create an e-commerce site and sell anything (whether a real product or service or not). All you need to do is give them your credit card information and they're off and running with your money!

Remember years ago when we were being marketed for CD's, VCR's or albums (...remember those)? You'd send you check and wait 8 weeks for your music to arrive. If it did arrive, count your blessings. If it didn't, finding the owner of that now defunct mailbox where you sent your check required more time than you had to give. You simply wrote it off.

Well, that scam is still out there, except now they don't need the expense of a TV commercial to get your attention. And the products they offer are limitless.

There are ways to protect yourself, but they are not completely foolproof. BEFORE submitting your credit card information, see who really owns that website. If the owner is out of country, you might want to reconsider. Getting your money back from someone overseas is nigh on to impossible. And you've given them all the information they need to use your credit card and have a field day with it.
Just a little primer for those who don't understand how setting up a website works.
First you need a domain name, i.e.
The domain name can be purchased from innumerable companies that may or may not providing a hosting site (where the web pages reside). The domain can be purchased from one company and the site can be set up using another company, or the same company can be used for both. Some people have their own servers (where the web site resides) set up in their businesses (or home), so a hosting company is not required. Others may have purchased a re-sellers license so they have their own "hosting company" that may also be listed "anonymously."
To look up the owner of the domain name, you could use any of the links below (a small sampling - each domain seller has their own "whois" lookup):


Network Solutions

Better Who Is

All Who Is


These sites will give you information regarding who registered the site. Now the caveat is that many of the domain sellers are now allowing their registrants to register anonymously. So if you see "anonymous" you should be DOUBLY AWARE. I would recommend putting your credit card back in your wallet and move on to another seller.

But let's consider that you need to find out more. Web sites are assigned an IP address just as computers are. The IP address is unique for the hosting company providing the web space for a site. Think of the IP address like your street address. These numbers are how traffic is directed through the Internet.
To see who is hosting a site, go to:  SELF SEO
One you have the IP address, go to: ARIN (American Registry for Internet Numbers). Using their whois search enter the IP address to determine who is providing the hosting.

The hosting company has information on who purchased their web space. This would be the place to start with your subpoena.