PSA: Domain (Website Name) Scams

DOMAIN NAME SCAMS – WHAT TO LOOK FOR
Your domain name is your brand. It is a vital and important part of how your company identifies itself, promotes business and presents you to your customers and potential new customers. Your domain has value. Big companies such as Facebook paid millions to acquire their current domain names, so scammers know the potential value of your company’s domain name and they are banking on the fact that you would pay a pretty penny to keep it.
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WHEN IN DOUBT, CONTACT YOUR IT PROVIDER
 
IntegraSys IT has encountered all types of scammers  & hackers efforts to exploit our clients, and we understand the importance of knowing how to best protect against the latest methods used by scammers. We will always make sure to keep you protected from the latest scams, so that your company can keep its focus on its core mission.
Below are some of the common scams we have seen in regards to Domain Names

WEBSITE LISTING SERVICES
You get your mail and in the stack of bills you find an invoice for your ‘domain listing’ that is apparently about to expire. As a company that is concerned about losing your ‘identity’ by losing your domain – you send them money to ensure you do not lose your domain. Experts say that these services are basically worthless or can easily be done by the domain name owner independently. In some cases, these efforts may actually do more harm than good for the website as it could lead to the loss of your company’s domain name and result in your website being down for a time. Such a situation can have serious financial consequences for your business. More likely these companies will do nothing more than collect a hefty payment for a useless service.

DOMAIN SLAMMING
Domain slamming has been around a long-time, but only because it is highly effective for the scammer. Posing as an official domain registrar, these unethical companies take advantage of unsuspecting companies by sending out urgent invoices with statements that include critical statements about the time for renewal running out and dire warnings about what will happen if you do not act immediately. All too often the recipient doesn’t look closely at the official-looking notice and simply takes care of the bill, not realizing that they are actually paying to register their domain name with a completely different company. In addition, the prices for their services are much higher than what they would pay with honest domain registrars.

CHINESE DOMAIN NAME SCAM
A more deceitful type of domain name scam has hit the IT world in the past few years which involves emails sent out primarily by Chinese domain registration service companies. The emails warn that another company is attempting to register multiple domain names that contain the company’s name or trademark information. The messages describe the situation as urgent and strongly recommends that the domain name owner quickly register multiple similar domain names to protect their trademark or brand. The messages often also stress that their organization (through  their altruism) has blocked these competitive registration efforts temporarily, but they need prompt action from the recipient to halt this process. The scammers hope that the domain name owner’s fears of losing their brand identity or trademark information to a competitor, will purchase some or all of the new domain names. In addition to winning business through false pretenses, these companies charge prices that are usually far above the standard rates offered by reputable registrars.

3 EASY STEPS TO AVOID DOMAIN 
NAME SCAMS
Below are three simple steps to take to ensure that your company does not fall victim to these unscrupulous individuals that want to make you pay for what is already yours.
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  • Note which company is your registrar and when your company’s domain names will expire. If you have multiple domain names with different registrars, transfer all of them to a single registrar for easier monitoring and bill payment.
    • Only renew your domain name registration through the company where it was originally purchased. Never use any intermediaries. Renewing your domain name far in advance or for longer periods will help you avoid receiving unwanted registration renewal notices.
  • List two to three different employees under your ICANN WHOIS registration for Registrant Contact, Admin Contact, and Tech Contact. In this way, all three contacts will receive official reminders of when your domain name registration is scheduled to expire.
    • Use the domain locking feature from your registrar: most registrars provide an optional domain lock feature that prevents your domain name from being re-registered anywhere else without express permission from your company.
  • Your company’s leadership team should help the company notice and recognize the latest scams they learn about with accurate descriptions and warnings. They should provide clear instructions on how employees can avoid falling victim to these scams. They should also encourage all staff to share any new scamming attempts they encounter to help educate and protect the entire company. 
    • One example of proper behavior that should always be followed: never click on links or open attachments from any unknown or suspicious sources.
    • Never share personal or sensitive information with any unknown or suspicious companies or individuals.

       

  • When in doubt – ask us! We are always here to help and we can tell you right away if you need to worry about an invoice/communication/etc.