It has been brought to my attention today that a domain name renewal scam is currently making the rounds. This scam is not new, but domain owners continue to fall victim to this practice on a daily basis. I just wanted to make you aware of how the scam works so that you can protect yourself from losing domain registrations to these companies.
The scam works this way: unethical companies monitor the publicly accessible WHOIS database and obtain registrant contact information as well as domain expiry dates. Using this information, they then mail domain registrants an official looking document, months in advance of the renewal date, encouraging the registrant to renew the name now to protect themselves from losing their domain name. When the registrant renews the name by paying the invoice, the domain is not only renewed, but a registrar transfer is initiated to the unscrupulous registrar. Basically you are losing control of your domain name.
There are a number of ways to beat these scammers:
* Enable WHOIS Privacy on your domain name. This is the absolute best protection, stopping the scam dead in its tracks as there is no way for the scammer to contact the registrant directly.
* Use domain locking. A locked domain can’t be transferred, again, preventing the scam from working.
* Keep track of domain expiry date and the registrar you currently are using.
Here is an invoice that appears to be real but it is not from the domain owners current domain registrar. If the domain owner thinks this is real and forwards payment, their domain name will be transferred to another registrar and also pay a higher fee than what most other registrars charge.
Remember, keep a list of all your domain names and where they are registered and what their expiration date is as well as how much you pay a year to keep them. If you keep this information you will never be tricked into something like this.
( If you are reading this anywhere but my blog, you can find the original post here. )