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Beware of domain renewal scams

March 19, 2022

Beware of domain renewal scams

There are two common scams relating to domain renewals that as a domain owner you should be aware of. Both scams take advantage of public information which identifies you as the domain owner and the domain's renewal date. Here’s what you need to know and how to protect yourself. 

Domain transfer scams 

In this case, an unscrupulous domain provider will contact you via phone, email or a letter claiming to be the provider of your domain name, letting you know your domain name is due for renewal and requesting a renewal payment. They will know the actual due date for renewal and will contact you close to that date to put pressure on you to renew immediately so you don’t miss out and lose your domain. 

What they’re not telling you is that they are not in fact your domain provider. Instead, they are trying to get you to transfer your domain name to them. Not only are they misrepresenting the situation, it can also mean you end up paying for the domain renewal twice - once through your original provider and once through the unscrupulous provider. Once you’ve unknowingly transferred your domain you will have to wait another 60 days to transfer it back again which is a real headache. 

How you can protect yourself 

It’s important to keep an eye on who manages your domain names. That way you’ll know immediately when another provider is incorrectly claiming to be your domain provider. If you’ve registered multiple domains over the years through different providers, it may be a good time to consolidate all of your domain names with one trusted provider so everything is easier to track and is centralised. 

Phishing scams 

Phishing scams are a type of email scam designed to steal your money or identity by obtaining your personal, credit card or other financial information. The way they work is by sending you an email which directs you to click on a link to a website. That website may appear to be legitimate and will ask you to submit passwords, personal information or financial information. Often the email will fraudulently claim to be from your bank, a real company or in the case of domain name scams - your domain provider. That website will collect that information with the goal of using it to steal your identity or money. 

In the case of a domain name phishing scam, you will receive an email which may appear to be from a domain name provider. It will put pressure on you to renew your domain name in order to avoid it expiring. If you click on the link it will request your credit card information and other details. Instead of renewing your domain name, that information will be used to steal money from you or steal your identity. Furthermore, your domain name may then actually expire, because it was never actually renewed. 

How you can protect yourself 

Domain providers like IT&T, will send you renewal reminders, but there will usually be a few telltale signs to help you distinguish between a legitimate or illegitimate email. A good starting point is to hover over the link they’re asking you to click on. The link destination will show up at the bottom of your browser. If it doesn’t look like the website of your domain provider, then it could be a scam. If you believe a supposed email from your domain provider may not be legitimate, it's best to contact your domain provider to check. If the email doesn’t look the same as other emails you receive from the company, then this is also a sign to proceed with caution. 

Another option to protect you is to pay for private registration of your domain names which serves to keep your personal information hidden from public view. That makes it harder for scammers to identify you and track you down. 

To work with a trusted and knowledgeable domain provider, get in touch with us today to discuss your domain name needs. 

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