Watch out for renewal letters from fake domain registry companies. Usually, companies pay to use a domain (your-company.com) from a well-known registrar such as GoDaddy and Network Solutions. Then, they use their DNS services to manage the website and email traffic routing.
However, impostors are sending fake invoices to trick people into transferring their domains to them and then renewing them at much higher prices than the existing provider. Once you transfer your domain name to these scammers, you are at risk of your website and email going offline.
Unfortunately, many people are just skimming these notices, not reading the fine print, and then instantly sending a payment to these fraudsters. They tend to focus more on the expiration dates, the area to fill out credit card information, and a request to reply by date.
To add to the confusion, many people forget where they registered their domain name. They have different services and logins for domain name registry, website hosting, and CMS websites (WordPress, Joomla, Drupal).
How can your organization prevent domain renewal scams?
- Make sure you know which registrar you registered your domain with by searching on whois.icann.org.
- Pay your renewal fees directly on the registrar’s website, rather than clicking on an email or mailing a check.
- Designate an employee to track when your domains expire and renew them on time. For peace of mind, you can change the renewal length to two or more years at a time.
- Pay your registrar an annual fee to make your contact information private so slammers cannot get this information in a WHOIS search.
- Lock your domain with your registrar so slammers cannot transfer your domain without your permission. SwiftTech or your webmaster can help with this.
- If you have multiple domains with various registrars, transfer them all to a single vendor to simplify monitoring.
- Be careful with letters stating urgency such as URGENT RENEWAL NOTICE and YOUR DOMAIN IS ABOUT TO EXPIRE.
What if I made a payment already?
- Contact the bank to stop payment.
- Contact your existing registrar and tell them you do not want them to transfer the domain.