No one likes to be fooled by scammers or questionable ads. Domain name notification letters and emails are a good example. A typical subject line goes something like this: “This is your final notice for domain listing.” Although disguised as legitimate requests for domain name renewal or transfer, these notifications are rarely legitimate. In this article, I explain domain names, how to recognize domain name scams, and how to avoid these scams.
A domain name is referred to as an Internet deed to online real estate. The domain name is the group of letters that “point” users to a website. For example, our company’s domain name is PackerlandWebsites.com. Every website owner needs a domain name and needs to renew the name at least annually. On a side note, Packerland Websites helps clients choose and secure domain names that work best for them.
Next, here are some telltale signs of a domain name scams.
- Errors in emails – Scammers, especially those operating outside the U.S., often send emails with spelling and grammatical mistakes.
- Emails without account numbers – A legitimate domain name expiration notice will include a domain name registry account number.
- Emails from unusual senders – The sender’s address can be a tip-off, although even reputable domain registrars like GoDaddy get spoofed by cybercriminals.
- Emails with peculiar links – For example, Packerland Websites received a domain name renewal email with a link to a hair salon, not a reputable domain name registrar. That made us suspicious. Never click on a link you don’t recognize and trust.
So, how does a company or nonprofit guard against these scams? Essentially, domain name scams rely on people being unfamiliar with their domain name registration. Therefore, knowledge is power. The best way to protect yourself is to answer two questions: Where is my domain name registered? When does my domain name expire?
If you don’t know the answer to these questions, visit the website whois.net and type in your domain name. You will find the registrar and expiration date.
Although domain name emails and letters may contain technical terms that look official, don’t be fooled. For more information about domain names or other items related to websites, contact your website developer or Packerland Websites, 920-826-5901 or Team@PackerlandWebsites.com.
By Bill Koehne, Packerland Websites