Many small businesses have recently fallen prey to a popular scam involving domain names, although this scam has been around for a long time. A domain name is simply an internet address, used to help people get to a website, similar to how a street address allows people to find your house. For example, the Sea Cliff Coast domain name is seacliffcoast.com.au.
Domain name renewal scams can work in one of three ways.
One: You might be sent an invoice for a domain name that is very similar to your current domain name – the scammer hopes that you don’t notice the difference and just pay the invoice.
Two: You could be sent a letter or email that looks like a renewal notice for your actual domain name, but is from a different company to the one you have previously used to register your domain name. The letter may look like a legitimate renewal notice, but if read carefully it usually contains words indicating you are agreeing to transfer it. The variation of this method is sending you a renewal notice by email from another domain registrar when your domain is not actually due from new renewal.
Three: The last method usually involves sending you an email from an overseas domain registrar stating that another company is trying to buy a volume of domains similar to yours but with different extensions (.info, .cn etc). They imply that if you buy quickly to these domains you can secure your name and brand.
Most people tend to forget who they registered their domain name with and when it is due, thereby leaving themselves exposed to these scams. It is helpful to be aware of who your domain registrar is, how much you paid, and when it is due. Scams typically come from other registrars, at unexpected times and for higher fees than what you originally paid.
So unless your domain name registration is actually about to expire, it’s best to ignore these notices, or check with your domain registrar.
What should I do if I receive one of these domain name renewal letters?
- Check the domain name on the notice very thoroughly and see if it actually matches your current domain name. There may be slight variances in the name or the extension instead of what your proper domain name is.
- Check that the notice is from your proper domain registrar who you bought the domain from. it is not who you bought it from, it’s most likely a scam.
- Login to your domain registrars website (or call them) and verify your domain name and proper expiry date. it is often safest to renew your domain through the console supplied by your registrar.
- Avoid using the links in emails to access your domain registrar. Best you log into the website yourself using your browser.
- Be wary of who you send your personal information to, especially if it is a company you know nothing about. They could use your information to fraudulently take ownership of your domain or identity.
Unfortunately, unsolicited communications from professional online scammers can’t be completely eradicated, but you can take steps to help prevent yourself from falling victim. By taking the precautions above, you can hopefully avoid domain name scams.
GongOnline are your local small business web design specialists, and they can advise you on the best domain name to register which will create a strong online brand, while also generating the strongest possible search engine rankings. Contact GongOnline on 800 33 441 to discuss your online marketing and communication needs.
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