Over the past month, we have seen a rise in the number of physical letters and spam emails received in both our office and our clients. All of these letters address one thing. Domain registration.
Basically, the scam works like this. Within a couple of months of your domain expiring, you receive a letter/email advising you that it is time to renew your domain. The letter will have details about renewing the domain and of course, a way to make payment.
The problem of changing the name registrar to the wrong company is much bigger than just the money involved. We see cases of the scam registrars changing the email addresses for billing, technical and ownership to one they control. This way when the domain expires in a year they are able to control ownership and hold the business hostage to either an inflated price or to put the domain up for auction.
How to identify predatory domain registration scams.
- The issuing business name is not a name that you know you have done business with in the past;
- The letter has a presorted postmark. Your legitimate registrar would never do this;
- The letter indicates it is not a bill and you are only obligated to pay if you complete the signup form and go so far as to fill out your credit card information on the paper form (If you ignore the letter, nothing will happen with your domain, which indicates this is a solicitation);
- An exorbitant price for domain renewals. Question anything over $15.00;
- A domain renewal should not include an upsell to services or to purchase additional domains as they have nothing to do with the renewal.
How You Can Protect Yourself
Understand that your web presence is made up of two parts.
Domain name. The domain name is what identifies your website to the public.
Hosting The hosting company has a computer connected to the internet. Your hosting is simply a folder on this computer where your web site is stored and made available to the public.
The domain name and hosting may be with one or more companies. For example, Godaddy is both a Registrar and a Host.
One measure of protection is to verify that the information about your domain is accurate.
Sometimes the domain was set up by a former employee or web designer or another party. Now is a good time to check if you own yours. It is very easy to do.
Go to the whois lookup page provided by ICANN, a non-profit organization that compiles domain information. Enter your domain name. This will show you the Registrant, Admin and Technical Contacts.
The Registrar is the company where your domain is registered. You should have a user/password and if you need any changes to be made, including changing hosting companies.
There are a number of companies doing this scam. If you or a friend receive a letter or an email that makes you question the legitimacy of a renewal, please forward this to them or invite them to contact us to help prevent them from making a costly mistake.
Get Found Local offers domain registration and web site hosting along with other digital marketing solutions. Schedule a time and let’s talk about the best solution for your needs.