September 15, 2009

Beware of "Domain Slamming"

Approximately once a month, we have a customer who falls prey to domain renewal scams. The most common one comes from a company called Domain Registry of America.

Be warned that most legitimate domain registrars do not go to the expense of posting out invoices in the mail. However there are lots of scam companies that send you a “renewal invoice” which is actually a transfer authorisation in disguise (or more simply put, a scam).

Once you pay, they take over your domain and potentially cause problems for you such as:
  • Charging above market rates for renewing your domain
  • Changing the "DNS entries" (information on how to find your web and e-mail servers) causing website and e-mail outages
There are a number of companies doing this, but the most popular one is Domain Registry of America. This company's entry in Wikipedia outlines their deceptiveness.

The term used to describe this scam is "domain slamming":

"Domain slamming is a form of scam in which an internet service provider (ISP) or domain name registrar attempts to trick customers of different companies into switching from their existing ISP/registrar to the scamming ISP/registrar, under the pretense that the customer is simply renewing their subscription to their old ISP/registrar."

More about "Domain Slamming" at Wikipedia.

Whilst domains can be "rescued" from these registrars, it often take a great deal of time, and sometimes a great deal of money.

It is important to know who your domain registrar is, and only pay attention to e-mails from them. In the case of 1300 Web Pro customers, if we registered or manage your domain name, we are your registrant and any notices will come by e-mail from NGE or 1300 Web Pro.

If a site owner ever has any doubt as to whether a renewal notice is from their legitimate registrar, the safest thing to do is to contact your web hosting company as they will generally be able to assist. For 1300 Web Pro customers, even if we did not register the domain we can help you determine who the correct person to see for domain renewals is.

Here is a sample scam "invoice":

James Deck
1300 Web Pro
Twitter: @1300WebPro

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