Domain Renewal Scams

Jul 6, 2016

What are Domain Renewal Scams

Unfortunately domain renewal phishing scams are not going away and they have been around for over 15 years.

This can be in the form of either a letter that comes through the mail or an email, stating that you domain is expiring soon. If you look closely the word the letter to ensure that they stay on the legal side they state that you are not obliged to pay and this is not a bill.

Domain slamming (also known as unauthorized transfers or domain name registration scams) is a scam in which the offending domain name registrar attempts to trick domain owners into switching from their existing registrar to theirs, under the pretence that the customer is simply renewing their subscription to their current register. The image on the right shows the initial domain slamming phishing email sent by Network Solutions to OpenSRS customers. The term derives from telephone slamming.

The full Wikipedia article is here on domain name scams

They offer the renewal at an increased charge over our renewal charges and looking at the small print they have massive redemption charges. The main issue here is that once you have moved the domain you certainly have increased renewal costs, furthermore they have your credit card details and who knows what can be done with them.

If you do a little digging to will see that most of these companies work from a PO Box or a business holding address, so you really don’t know who you are dealing with or where.

Names of companies that could get in touch

These companies do send these requests, its for you to carry out due diligence to decide if you want to deal with them.

To give yo a little more info they are all related businesses of Brandon Gray Internet Services

  • Domain Registry of Europe
  • Domain Registry of America
  • Domain Registry of Canada
  • Domain Registry of Australia
  • Domain Renewal Group
  • Domain Renewal SA
  • Internet Corporation Listing Service
  • Internet Registry of Canada
  • Asian Domain Registration Service
  • Liberty Names of America
  • Registration Services Inc.,
  • Yellow
  • Domain Renewal Group

What happens if you have responded to this letter?

A few things could happen.

  1. They have your details to keep recharging for renewals
  2. They take control of your domain
  3. Increased domain renewal costs.

How do they get my information?

When you purchase a domain you have to input your personal details to register the domain as the registrant (owner) this is important as this is the only way you can be legally the owner of the domain, also ICANN and Nominet check this data for validity.

Here is the catch, when you register this domain it goes into the whois directory and anyone can type in your domain and get the information you have entered. So this means that they have your address, telephone number and email address! There is an option to not have this information listed so for example on .com, .net, .org, .info and .biz you can pay for domain privacy which cloak’s this information for an annual charge and for best effect done at the point of registration so your information never gets out there.

As for .uk etc  domains this is different. You can opt out of the whois for free again this is best done at the point of the purchase of the domain. However if you’re a business on a .uk domain then you have to have the business information listed, you cannot trade under a domain that has opted out of the whois, so register the domain under the business not you personally.

Personal sites, forums etc can all be personal providing your not trading or selling anything. As for com, .net, .org, .info you can pay for privacy and trade with a cloaked information. On the flip side if you do have an ecoomerce site and you are cloaked, what message would this sent to a potential customer that technically savvy checks before they buy?

How can i avoid these scams?

Ensure that you login to your current registrar client area and renew from there, never go to a page that an email is sending you to and ensure that you have the browser padlock showing and the domain you expect to be on. Also by using the above steps you can avoid being in the public whois and avoid future scams.

As always whenever you give out you financial information, if you don’t know who they are are you cannot contact them stay clear. If you have no choice then the other option is payment via PayPal but never use wire transfer services as you have no claim or resolution option with them.

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