Watch your domains – Fake Domain Renewal Scam

Watch your domains – Fake Domain Renewal Scam

Do you have a Domain Name?
Have you got a letter or invoice asking you to renew your domain name for a higher price than normal?
If so, then read on!!!

If you have a website then you will most certainly have a domain name, be it .com, .org or .co.uk you will renew your domain name every year or two. An alarming new trend on where people who own domain names getting what seems like a domain renewal bill. These are Fake Domain Renewal Scams which are nothing more than an SEO service.

These letters are addressed to the domain holder and state that if you don’t renew your domain your website will no longer be visible. This is a correct statement, i.e. if you don’t renew a domain your site can’t be found – the problem is that people think that they have to renew with this company who sent this letter which seems like a bill for their domain.

One sample of a Domain Renewal Scam which I got recently is shown below. Note I have removed any items such as addresses and formatting which might identify the domain it was sent to or the company who sent it. My aim here is not to target one particular domain name scam rather to highlight that the practice takes place.

Sample Domain Renewal Scam Email

Below I have shown a type of domain name scam email which I got recently, not all are of this nature, some arrive by standard mail not email, but it should give you an idea of what to look out for.

— — — START — — —

Registration Expiration

Order Number: 123456
Order Date: October 21, 2016
Bill To: Your Name goes here, Your Address goes here

PROCESS SECURE PAYMENT

Domain Name SOME-DOMAIN.COM
Domain Registration October 21, 2016 – October 20, 2017
Price $85.00
Term 1 Year

Domain Name: SOME-DOMAIN.COM

To: [Your name]

Your Domain Registration includes Search Engine submission for SOME-DOMAIN.COM for a period of 12 months. There is no obligation for you to pay for this order unless you complete your payment by Nov 12, 2016. Our Search Engine Submission services provides submission services and search engine ranking organization for domain name owners. This search engine offer for submission services is not required to renew your domain registration.

Failure to complete your search engine registration by Nov 12, 2012 may result in the cancellation of this order (making it difficult for your customers to locate you using search engines on the web).

For Domain Name: SOME-DOMAIN.COM

PROCESS SECURE PAYMENT

UNSUBSCRIBE INSTRUCTIONS

You have received this message because you elected to receive special domain notifications and search engine submission offers for SOME-DOMAIN.COM. If you no longer wish to receive our special notices, please unsubscribe here, or mail us a written request to the attention of: Some fake domain registration company who sent it, PO Box DOMAIN, Somewhere in Domain town, DO 00001-00002. Please allow up to six weeks for the complete unsubscribe process to take place. NOTE: If you have multiple accounts with us, you must opt out for each one individually in order to fully stop receiving these notifications. This message is CAN-SPAM compliant.

Please do not reply to this email, as we are not able to respond to messages sent to this address.

— — — ENDS — — —

Some of the things to look out with domain name scams are;

  • The letter may not be named or addressed personally or correctly
  • The price for a one year renewal is far too high – $85 as opposed to maybe $10 per year
  • The domain expiry is always in the next few days even though your domain might be paid for until the following year – always know when your domain expires.
  • The invoice is not for domain registration rather it refers to Search Engine Submissions for your domain
  • The letter doesn’t read right – or you might say, “I never got this before regarding my domain name”, you might have a gut instinct about these dodgy practices.

If you are unsure you could ask your hosting company (if you have a quality host with good support), or ask a local web developer or IT person who will know of these domain name scams.

What to remember about your domain names / Domain Renewal Scams

  • Basically, your domains should auto-renew and most domain registrars tell you 1 month in advance that the domain is scheduled for renewal
  • Most domain names are $10-20 at most per year (unless it is a specific domain type i.e. not .com / .net / .org)
  • All domain name registrars will address you by name with correct personal information
  • Finally, if you are uncomfortable renewing or processing a letter where you have to part with money – seek advice.
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