Originally posted in March of 2009, this post holds true today. After years of dealing with these types of scams, the crooks are still out there trying to scam business owners. Scams do come and go, but this is one that we still field questions about regularly.
Apparently the Chinese have NOT cornered the market on shady domain name scams.
While Nigerian princes and Chinese domain scammers prefer to take the more personal route with a cordial email directed at domain owners, American/Canadian domain pirates have gone a different route: obtuse scary notices and fake invoices.
The first scam is similar to the Chinese scam. They play upon the fear that your “intellectual property rights” are going to be infringed upon. They use big words and reference the “United States Legal Code” regarding “False descriptions and dilution of Trademarks and the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy.”
In other words, they’re trying to sell you a bunch of domain names you don’t now own and very likely don’t want to own. Even if you DID want to own those names, you certainly don’t want to purchase them through sneaky scumbags like the company so low-down that they don’t even have the guts to tell you their name.
The second scam is just as bad. The Domain Registry of America (located in Ontario) sends you notification that your domain name is about to expire and you should pay them to “renew” it. What they don’t tell you is that they’re going to transfer the name from your current provider (likely someone you trust) to Domain Registry of America. Domain Registry of America has even been the defendant of an FTC lawsuit because of their deceptive practices.
So how should you deal with these people?
- Step 1. Open the letter from the deceptive jerks.
- Step 2. Use your hands to crumple their notice up into a small wad.
- Step 3. Place the wad of paper in your wastebasket and go back to what you were doing.
Problem solved! (Note: If you get an email notice about your domain name and you’re not sure if it’s a scam, you can always call your friendly neighborhood technology solutions provider–Keystone–and double-check… but it’s probably a scam).