Domain name scams are insidious and problematic for business owners. Type “domain scams” into Google and you’ll see how reguarly they are committed. Here is a brief description of the most common type of scam and a guide to protecting yourself.
False invoicing is a misleading marketing tactic that a disreputable company will use to get your business. Picture this: your domain name is due for renewal soon, and one day you receive a notice by snail mail or email that looks like an invoice and tells you that if you don’t send money NOW, you will lose your domain. Quite often, these messages are sent by a company you’ve never dealt with and this invoice is an attempt to frighten you into signing your domain name registration over to a new company.
The only organization that should be sending you a bill is the company that you used to register your domain name in the first place. If the bill comes from any other company, it’s almost certainly a scam. Throw it out or delete it. If you acknowledge it or send money, they will instigate a transfer of your domain name away from the registrar you are currently dealing with, and they’ll put it into their own domain management system. You may have to pay greatly increased prices for renewing your domain name if that happens, and it’s very difficult to regain control over your domain name once it’s been transferred to one of these companies.
- Register domain names yourself or hire a trusted professional to do it for you, and make sure the email address that you used to register the domain name remains active.
- If you let someone register your domain name for you, make sure YOU are on file as the Administrative Contact. A good registrar will know how to set this up for you.
- Ask if your registrar company can lock your domain name against unauthorized transfers.
- Print and keep any emails and paperwork relating to your domain name purchase so you can confirm your expiry date and the name of your original registrar.
- Do not respond to suspicious emails from other registrar companies. Any acknowledgement that an untrustworthy company receives from you may be used to initiate a domain transfer.
- If in doubt, call your website developer or hosting provider to check the validity of any suspicious requests.
Above all, pay attention. Make sure you know who your real registrar is, when your domain name is due to expire, and be vigilant when you start receiving renewal notices.