Cybersquatters target Britain's Got Talent finalists

Many of the Britain's Got Talent finalists have had their names registered for fake Twitter accounts by internet users keen to make money from their popularity.

Many of the Britain's Got Talent finalists have had their names registered for fake Twitter accounts by internet users keen to make money from their popularity.

Thirty-three of the 40 semi-finalists on the talent show, including Susan Boyle, have had their names registered unofficially on the Twitter site.

The cyber-squatters have also bought both .com and .co.uk domain names that might be wanted by finalists, and will be hoping to make money from the sale of the domain names.

Only five contestants registered web addresses in their name before entering the talent contest, and just four were previously registered on Twitter. Guitar player Martin Macham and dog trainer Jackie Prescott are the only two contestants that have so far completely avoided being targeted by cyber squatters. The semi-finals of the show run each night this week and the final will be held this Saturday.

Stephen Waddington, managing director of Speed Communications, which conducted the research, said businesses should also be wary of cybersquatters.

"It is not just 'celebrities' that are affected. Brands can often be targeted by cyber squatters, particularly on social networking sites such as Twitter. Companies should register accounts in their name on these sites as a precaution, as well as common misspellings of their brand names. This is important as some users can accidentally mistype web addresses."

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