Common Domain Name Scams to Watch Out For

The Duplicate Domain Name Registration Scam

You walk into the office one morning and begin going through your email. One email catches your attention.  It’s from an unfamiliar email address and it concerns your company’s domain name.

You open the email and it’s a letter from an Asian domain name registration company informing you of another company (usually in China or Taiwan) that applied for a domain name with the same name as yours (with a different extension). The letter asks you to call or email them back within 7-10 business days to confirm the registration.

What should you do?

You don’t know too much about domain names, but you know that it is important to your business’ online success. You paid a pretty penny for it and don’t want to go through the process of getting another one because you lose the one you have.

You’re curious and stressed so you email back. They want an exorbitant amount (way more than what you originally paid) paid up front. The amount will entitle you to own the domain for five years.

You do some research and find out it’s a scam. You just saved yourself from paying tens of thousands of dollars.

You’d be surprised how many business owners fall for domain name scams such as this one.

What Red Flags to Look For

If you want to confirm your suspicions without spending extra time researching, here are some quick things to look for that are immediate red flags:

  1. Domain names with the same body but with different extensions are not the same and they can’t be used interchangeably.

So, when the company mentions that a foreign company XYZ Corp. applies for the domain name (Chinese extension) and your domain name is, you have nothing to worry about. This shouldn’t mean anything to you.

  1. The term domain name registration company.

There is no such thing. You register your domain through your web hosting provider.

  1. There is a sense of urgency whereby if you don’t respond, the domain name will go through and be given away to the other company.

Domain name registrations don’t work this way. One doesn’t apply for a domain name and get approved by a registration agency (don’t exist). Rather, domain name registration is based on a first come, first serve basis. The other company can’t get your domain name unless you authorize the domain name transfer or your registration for the domain expires and you fail to renew it.

The Domain Name Registration Scam

Another domain name scam is the popular domain name registration scam.

In this scam, a fictional company will send out an official-looking renewal notice stating an expiration date and the cost of the renewal payment. There will be a “secure payment” link where you can enter your payment information.

Experts say most domain name expiration or renewal email notices can be discarded.

What to Do

To avoid paying a scammer, who can also steal your domain name by moving it to another server, follow these steps:

  1. Check the “whois” records to make sure that the email contacts for your domain name registrations.

Only the information of select current personnel who are familiar with the domain name system should be listed. Fraudsters use the contact information in the “whois” directory to send the notices to. Ask any others who are listed as contacts whether they got an email as well and what they think about it.

  1. Don’t click on any links in a suspicious email about a domain name renewal or expiration.

The links inside suspicious domain name emails often contain tracking codes that enable the fraudster to see if you’ve clicked on it. Doing this will open yourself up to receiving additional spammy domain name emails.

  1. Check your domain name’s expiration date in the “whois” registry and compare it to the date in the letter.

If they match, and you are concerned about your domain name expiring, check to see if you have the auto-renew feature enabled on your account with your web hosting company and that your payment information is correct.

It is recommended that you renew your domain name for the longest time possible (usually 10 years).

  1. Lock your domain name with your web hosting provider. Having a lock on your domain name keeps scammers from unauthorized transfers of your domain. If you’re not sure your domain name is locked, check the status of your domain name in the “whois” registrar. A locked domain name should look like “ClientTransferProhibited.”

You need a quality, premium domain for your business to succeed online. It is the foundation of a great website which is how your business will be found online. Whether you are looking to get your business started or you’re letting a current domain name expire in hopes of replacing it, you can find a variety of high-quality, brandable domain names at Domain Market.

Contact us today to help you get started on making your business successful with a premium domain.

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