Domain Name Registration Scams

As a domain name registrant, you need to be aware of some of the scams that are circulating the Internet and post today. We have seen a rise in the number of scams over the years and unfortunately sometimes domain name owners unknowingly fall for their fear tactics.

These scams usually involve payment, supplying credit card details, collecting your personal information or identification information to use later for fraudulent activities. At this time it’s not possible for us to stop these emails from being sent or received but most should be collected by your spam folder. It’s vital that you’re aware of these scams so you don’t fall victim to them yourself.

Domain Expiration Scam

The most common domain scam is an email or letter advising you that your domain name is going to expire requesting that you send payment before it’s too late. It will most likely be from an overseas company that you have never heard of before. The only company that can renew your domain name is the company that manages your domain unless you’re in the process of transferring it another registrar.

EXAMPLE 1:

“As a courtesy to domain name holders, we are sending you this reminder that your domain name registration is due to expire in the next few months. When you switch today to the Domain Renewal Group, you can take advantage of our best savings. Your registration for: yourdomainname.com.au will expire on January 13, 2014. Act today!

Registering your name with us will ensure you retain exclusive rights to it on the Web, and now is the time to transfer and renew your name from your current Registrar to the Domain Renewal Group. Failure to renew your domain name by the expiration date may result in a loss of your online identity making it difficult for your customers and friends to locate you on the Web.

Privatization of Domain Registrations and Renewals now allows the consumer the choice of Registrars when initially registering and also when renewing a domain name. Domain name holders are not obligated to renew their domain name with their current Registrar or with the Domain Renewal Group. We would like you to transfer and renew your name from your current Registrar; review our prices and decide for yourself. You are under no obligation to pay the amounts stated below unless you accept this offer. This notice is not a bill, it is rather an easy means of payment should you decide to switch your domain name registration to the Domain Renewal Group.”

EXAMPLE 2:

Domain Name Group sends a letter, that appears exactly like an invoice, to businesses after a domain name they previously registered has expired. Don’t pay this as they are charging well over the standard renewal price. If you want to renew the domain name in the letter call us on 07 3341 7224 instead.

China, Asia & Hong Kong Domain Scams

There is another scam advising the domain name holder that a company in China or Hong Kong is attempting to register their domain with a .cn, .asia or .hk extension. These emails ask you to object to the registration of the domain by contacting them. They will most likely ask for payment once you make contact.

EXAMPLE:

“Dear Manager,

(If you are not the person who is in charge of this, please forward this to your CEO,Thanks)

This email is from China domain name registration center, which mainly deal with the domain name registration and dispute internationally in China and Asia.
We received an application from XiongFa Ltd on April 8, 2013. They want to register ” yourdomainname ” as their Internet Keyword and China/Asia/Hongkong (CN/ASIA/HK) domain names. But after checking it, we found this brand name is already used by your company. According to the domain name registration principle, your company is the owner of the trademark, in order to avoid this conflict, we have a responsibility to keep these names security for your company in our audit period, so we send you email and confirm whether you want to object the third party application these domain names and Internet Keyword in China, Asia, Hong Kong or not?

Best Regards,

Jim
General Manager”

Another Chinese scam we are aware of is an email informing of an attempted registration of a .cn domain name that is trademarked in Australia. Once you contact them they will ask for payment to stop the domain name from being registered.

EXAMPLE 2:

“(If you are not in charge of this, please forward this to your CEO, because this is urgent. Thanks)

We are a Network Service Company which is the domain name registration center in Shanghai, China. On April 9, 2013, we received an application from Hongsheng company requested “yourdomainname” as their internet keyword and China (CN) domain names. But after checking it, we find this name conflict with your company name or trademark. In order to deal with this matter better, it’s necessary to send email to you and confirm whether this company is your distributor or business partner in China?

Kind regards
Paul Zhang”

What Should I Do If I’m Contacted?

Be weary of all unsolicited emails claiming to be your domain registrar. If you have never heard of the company that has contacted you, it’s most probably a scam. Never reply to these emails or provide your personal/financial information.

You should only pay for a .com.au, .net.au or .org.au domain name every 2 years. Take note of when you domain name is due for renewal. If your domain is registered through us and you’re unsure when your next renewal is due give us a call on 07 3341 7224, otherwise we will contact you when it’s due to expire. Make sure your contact details are up to date so we can call or email you when the time comes.

Check the website address that is used in the email or letter carefully as some scammers will also set up similar looking websites and closely matched domain to your registrar.

It’s highly recommended that if you’re uncertain about the validity of a domain name registration email that you forward the email to us at [email protected] or give us a call on 07 3341 7224.

Image Source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/bloggingbookshelf/5910411419/