If you didn’t pay extra to make your domain ownership information private, then your name, email, and mailing address are listed in a public directory. Unfortunately, this is often used by scammers to trick you into paying for something that you don’t want or need. If you own domains, beware of domain and hosting scams. Here are a few examples.
Fake Renewal Notices
One very common scam relates to hosting. You may receive an email or letter in the mail saying that your domain is up for renewal. It may even show the domain name and renewal date. Some include urgent warnings such as the risk of losing your domain name if not renewed by a certain date. However, it will come from a company you’ve never heard of. These are usually fake renewal notices. These companies found your information int he public directory and are trying to trick you into paying them, instead of your actual domain registrar.
If you are concerned about the need to renew, login to the website from which you initially purchased your domain. You will see your actual renewal date within that account. Additionally, to avoid missing a renewal, make sure there’s a current credit card on file and that your domain is set to auto-renew.
Another common scam is again sent by either email or snail mail and mentions website hosting. The wording makes it sound like you’re already hosted with the company and must pay them to prevent your website from going down. In reality, these are either fake services or an attempt to trick you into switching hosting providers. Again, the notice probably comes from a company you’ve never heard of. If your website is running, then you have an existing hosting provider. Contact that company with any questions regarding hosting.
Solicitation for Domain Sales
A third type of scam to beware of is domain sales. You may receive emails from unknown individuals offering to sell domains similar to yours. Some are real but most are fake. If you are interested in buying a domain, be sure to purchase them through known registrars such as Godaddy. Domain owners initiate the sale but the domain registrar facilitates the transfer. Never send money directly to unknown individuals claiming to sell domains to you directly.
Beware of Domain and Hosting Scams As They Are All Too Common
We often get called or emailed by customers asking if an email or snail mail notice they received is real. 100% of the time, the notices are fake. The best way to protect yourself is to first know what company you purchase your domain and hosting from. Additionally, login directly to their user portals for information on your services. Watch out for phishing emails that appear to come from legitimate companies but are actually attempts to obtain your login information. Stay alert to protect yourself from these common scams.