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Our 5 Tips to Avoid Domain Name Scams

Our 5 Tips to Avoid Domain Name Scams

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Our 5 Tips to Avoid Domain Name Scams

Since our beginnings as Canberra based Internet Service Provider ACTWEB.NET in the 1990's, we've learned that Domain Name related issues are one of the most common causes of significant service issues on the Internet.

Sadly we've also seen many scams and cons that take advantage of unsuspecting Domain Name owners.

In this article we highlight the most common Domain Name related scams and list our top tactics to help make managing your Domain Names a breeze and avoid falling victim to the scammers.

Common Domain Name Related Scams

There are several different types of common Domain Name related scams.

Many involve a variation on the theme of sending Domain Name owners what appears at a glance to be a legitimate invoice for Domain Name Registration renewal.

The fake Domain Name Registration renewal scams usually fall into one of three categories:

  • 1: An invoice from a source claiming to be the Domain Registrar for a real Domain Name that is in fact registered with another Domain Registrar
  • 2: An invoice for a different version of a real Domain Name. Either closely related spelling i.e. if the real domain is abc.com the invoice might be for acb.com or for an entirely different extension of the domain name i.e. abc.net
  • 3: An invoice for a totally unrelated service that is carefully worded to mimic the appearance of a legitimate Domain Name Registration renewal, such as the one pictured on this page.

The image on this page relates to a scam we received recently from http://www.trafficdomainer.com.

The scam relates to an actual Domain Name we owned at the time: iaspestore.com.

The scam message arrived via e-mail within days of the actual registration renewal date of the Domain Name.

The sender of the e-mail was marked as "Domain Service", and the subject was "iaspestore.com notice".

The notice was properly addressed and contained the words at the top: ATTENTION: IMPORTANT NOTICE.

Of course, when you read the fine print, they are actually selling seo domain name registration - whatever that is - apparently a totally unrelated service that the message later warns "failure to complete...may make it difficult for customers to find you on the web".

Which is 100% BS!

While most of the Domain Name registration scams arrive via e-mail, some arrive in the form of physical mail.

We also recently received a very similar scam to the one above via the post - supposedly from an Australian based organisation, whom we reported to Justice Victoria.

Domain Name scams that originate overseas can contain give-aways in the form of poor spelling and grammar, but those sent by Australian based organisations can be harder to tell apart from the real thing.

What makes some of these scams so successful is they not only appear to come from Australian based organisations, but they contain accurate Domain Name owner contact information and are often well timed to coincide with the actual Domain Name registration renewal date.

The good news is that when armed with just a little information about your Domain Names, even the most official looking scams become much easier to spot.

Our Top 5 Tips to Avoid Domain Name Scams

Tip 1:

When you register a Domain Name create a calendar reminder to re-new the domain name 1 month before the due date. Be sure to also make a note of the Domain Name Registrar you used to register the domain name.

Tip 2:

If you have multiple Domain Names registered via different Domain Registrars or contained in multiple accounts a single Domain Registrar, consolidate all the Domains into a single account for easy management.

Provided all your Domain Name contact details are current, transferring Domains Names between Registrars and Registrar Accounts is a very straight forward process.

Tip 3:

Make sure the contact details, especially the Registrant e-mail address (where renewal notices are sent), associated with all your Domain Names is current.

Tip 4:

If you buy or sell any type of operation where Domain Names are involved be sure to provide or request a letter signed by both buyer and seller addressed to the relevant Domain Registrar on the official letter head of the seller explaining that transfer of ownership has occurred.

Be sure to follow up with the relevant Domain Name Registrar until the Whois Registry is updated with the new Domain Name ownership details.

Tip 5:

When a Domain Name Registration renewal notice arrives, don't ignore it - check it against your list of registered Domain Names - does it come from the actual Registrar of a Domain Name that you are expecting to expire?. One of the consequences of the prevalence of Domain Name related scams is that legitimate renewal notices often go ignored. This year alone three of our clients have experienced the inconvenience of website and e-mail services going off-line for extended periods because they ignored legitimate Domain Name Registration renewal notices.


If you select a reputable Domain Name Registrar and follow the advice outlined in our 5 tips above you'll be a long way in front of most of the current Domain Name scams you're likely to encounter.

Unfortunately, clever new scams surface from time to time, so keep an eye on the Australian Government's SCAMWATCH website and other sites such as your local State based Australian Consumer Affairs website.

If you're unlucky enough to fall victim to a Domain Name related or any form of scam please don't be embarrassed and report the matter to the relevant authorities, that way other potential victims can be educated and warned of the dangers.

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