It has been brought to ICANN's attention that some online entities have attempted to sell fraudulent "certificates", which they claim are required to protect generic top-level domain names. The perpetuators of this scam threaten registrants on the protection service with the objective of securing a fee from the registrant. The "certificates" look official and include an unauthorized use of the ICANN logo.
View examples of fraudulent certificates:
Please note that ICANN does not issue certificates to registrants and does not collect fees from registrants directly.
ICANN is currently investigating these cases and advises registrants who encounter similar incidents to report to ICANN immediately via an email to Contractual Compliance at firstname.lastname@example.org.
ICANN recommends that any individual or legal entity wishing to register a domain name under a generic top-level domain name to do so using an ICANN-accredited registrar. More information, including a list of all current ICANN-accredited registrars can be found here: https://www.icann.org/resources/pages/registrars-0d-2012-02-25-en
ICANN's mission is to ensure a stable, secure and unified global Internet. To reach another person on the Internet you have to type an address into your computer – a name or a number. That address has to be unique so computers know where to find each other. ICANN coordinates these unique identifiers across the world. Without that coordination we wouldn't have one global Internet. ICANN was formed in 1998. It is a not-for-profit public-benefit corporation with participants from all over the world dedicated to keeping the Internet secure, stable and interoperable. It promotes competition and develops policy on the Internet's unique identifiers. ICANN doesn't control content on the Internet. It cannot stop spam and it doesn't deal with access to the Internet. But through its coordination role of the Internet's naming system, it does have an important impact on the expansion and evolution of the Internet. For more information please visit: www.icann.org.
For additional information about domain names, please visit: https://www.icann.org/resources/files/domain-names-beginners-guide-2010-12-06-en
[UPDATE: This announcement was updated on 16 July 2014 to include examples of fraudulent certificates.]