Domain renewal scams have been an issue for more than 15 years now, showing no signs of stopping. These scams can come in many forms, and are known as ‘Domain slamming’. Usually you will receive an e-mail or a physical letter, telling you that your domain will be expiring shortly. On closer inspection you will likely see small print stating “This is not a bill” or “You are not obliged to pay”, just to keep themselves on the right side of legal.
The aim of these scams is to fool domain owners into changing from their existing domain provider to theirs by leading them to believe they are merely renewing their registration with the current provider. The renewal will be offered at a higher price and often there will be large redemption charges tucked away in the small print. Once you make the move, you will not only be paying the increased rate, but these people will have access to your credit / debit card details which is a frightening concept. The majority of these so called companies work from a PO Box address so you will not know who you are paying or where they are based.
How did these scammers get my contact details?
You have to provide your personal details when you register a domain name in order to be the legal owner of the domain name. This data is checked by the likes of ICANN and Nominet for validity. When you do this, the information that you provide will go into the Whois directory, meaning anyone can potentially find your contact details.
How can I make sure I do not fall victim to Domain Slamming?
Make sure you find out from your current provider when your renewal is due, then ensure you log in and renew at the correct time, with them only. Paypal is a good method of payment to use as it is secure and does not entail typing out your card details. Also, avoid your details being in the public WHOIS. There are companies you can use that hide this information for an annual charge. You should be aware though that hiding this information may work against you if you have an e-commerce site as people could deem it untrustworthy.
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Green Tornado, Brentwood, Essex