A domain name is a series of letters and/or numbers in a web address appearing before the “.com”. Website administrators, business owners and the general public can purchase domain names from registrars like GoDaddy or Bluehost. The domain is then “registered” to the customer for a set period of time, usually from one up to ten years, when it will then be eligible again for renewal.
Because people often use other companies to manage their web presence for them, the person who owns the domain and pays registration fees may not be the person who purchased it. Consequently, the owner is oftentimes clueless about basic details such as where their domain is registered, and for how long. Domain registry scammers thrive on taking advantage of an owner’s lack of key knowledge.
So, what are domain registry scams, how do they work, and how do you protect yourself?
Domain registry scams are a common ploy to which many people fall victim. Usually a notice is sent by mail from a company you’ve never heard of claiming your domain will expire SOON! Along with an expiration notice, the letter also contains an invoice attached at the bottom requesting immediate response with payment.
Many of our clients ask us why they’ve received the notice and how to proceed. The answer is simple: ignore it! The ugly truth is, companies are illegally posing as domain registrars in order to scam domain owners, just like you, out of money. The notice is very convincing; it looks and feels exactly like a real bill. Oftentimes, they will include fees for services they don’t even provide. The company banks on the fact that most people don’t know a lot about how domain names function, let alone where the domain is registered or when it is set to expire.
The simplest way to avoid falling prey to a domain registry scam is to KNOW YOUR REGISTRAR. If you don’t know, be sure to ask your site administrator or the person who helped you initially register your domain.