Own a Domain Name? Beware of These Scams.

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If you own a domain name, you’re bound to receive a letter like I did, a few days ago.

The letter – from a “domain renewal service” – alerted me to take advantage of their services now, before it’s too late.

Renew what? My domain’s “Search Engine Indexing,” so I can “maintain viability of” my “URL listings.” By renewing these “URL listings,” I’d receive “annual key search requirements” for my “website to be found on the web.” Failure to renew “may result in search engine directories failing to list your website correctly.”

All for $147 annually!

There are a couple of problems with this letter:

  1. I’ve never done business with this company.
  2. I don’t own the domain name listed on the letter. 
  3. The domain name comes up just fine in the major search engines.
  4. The domain name listed on the letter brings up a website which says “Our New Site Is Coming Soon…”

This is one of many types of scams involving website domain names. 

Some scams offer domains for a very small price, then hit you with a very high renewal price a year later. 

Other scams send you an official looking invoice, requiring you to renew your domain because it will “expire soon”. In some cases, they’re right – it is! With plenty of payment options and a self-addressed envelope, everything looks correct – except for the fact that it’s not your domain’s registrar. 

In some cases, business owners fall for these letters, and unknowingly transfer ownership of their domain to an unscrupulous company – a practice known as “Domain Slamming.”

To prevent being scammed,

  • Know when your domain name(s) expire. Here’s an easy way: Go to GoDaddy.com. Scroll to the bottom and click on “WHOIS Search.” Enter your domain name and hit the “Search” button. The results will list all information publicly available regarding the domain name and its owner. Note the “Registrar Registration Expiration Date.”
  • Plug the domain’s expiration date into your calendar. Have it send you an alert a few days before the expiration date.
  • When in doubt, show any letters or emails regarding your domain name to your webmaster for their review.