I first blogged about domain registration renewal scams in 2013. Clients were getting letters from “The Domain Registry of America” asking them to send money for the renewal of their domain names. The amounts were much higher than the price of the domain names, too. “Domain Listings” is also a common one and it just appeared at my mailbox this week.
This blog post will go over the domain renewal scam that is targeting business owners. I’ll show you how to spot this scam and what steps you can take to protect yourself from it. The keyword in the title, “domain”, refers to your website address. Many people are receiving emails with a fake letterhead claiming that their domain name will expire soon and they need to renew immediately or risk losing all of their content on their website if someone else registers it first. This can be in the form of a letter as pictured above or in the form of malicious emails that typically come from third-party domains such as @gmail or @yahoo instead of an email account associated with your company’s domain name provider like @godaddy or @hostgator.
How to spot a domain renewal scam:
- Domain renewals never come as a bill in the mail. NEVER. These can be tossed.
- Emails are a bit trickier. A scammer can make it appear that an email is coming from GoDaddy or another domain registrar, but when you look closely at the to and from information on the email, the “from” isn’t from the company itself. These emails often have a link to enter your account info. That is the scam as well as getting you to send money or credit card information.
What can you do to protect yourself from this scam:
- Put your domain renewal date on your calendar and note who the registrar is.
- Know how to log in to your domain registrar account.
- Make sure you have a privacy setting on your domain. This, however, should be FREE from your provider and you should not need to pay for it.
- Never click a link in an email about your domain or hosting.
- Always log in directly to your provider to verify the information.
- Keep your credit card info updated in your registrar and hosting account.
- Ask your web designer to help you determine if something is real or not.
The key to not getting duped by one of these scam letters or emails is knowledge. If you know who your domain is registered with and what your expiration date is, you will immediately know this kind of outreach is a total scam. And if you’re not sure, you can always ask me.