It makes me so angry and frustrated… Another past client scammed by a company claiming their domain was up for renewal.
Virtually no legitamite registrar sends renewal notices by fax or postal mail! If you are or have ever been my client, please, please, please just CALL me if you receive any sort of bill, renewal, “urgent notice” that you receive by FAX or postal mail (or a PHONE call) regarding your domain name or website. I have YET to see any that are legitamite or relevant. They are scams. I know it looks like a real bill. I know they seem very convincing that you “must act now or risk losing your domain”! They know you just want it out of your hair, you don’t want to worry about the details, you just want your website to be up and running, and that $30-$100 is under your threshhold for an expense that you’d think twice about (fyi, domains are under $10 per year).
Take some extra time to consider:
- Do you recognize the company? If not, you can look up who the REAL domain registrar is by plugging your domain name into any WHOIS tool. My favorite search tool is http://whois.domaintools.com. Go ahead, go plug in your domain name and see what sort of information (your name, address, phone, fax number) are available for anyone else to see as well.
- Is it the same company that your previous bill came from? You should have your most recent bills on file to check and a record of how to contact Billing and Technical Support. If you don’t know, can’t remember, or can’t find it, use WHOIS or other tools to find it. If you are or have been my client in the past, feel free to call me for this information. I won’t always have a current record (if you changed your website or transferred registrars since we originally worked together, for instance) but chances are good that I can still track it down for you.
- When is your domain renewal date? Is it actually the date they are claiming? If you don’t know now, look it up. Note it on your calendar. Even if you have the domain on auto-renew, make someone check on this occasionally (yes, at least once a year!)
- Are you sure this is your domain name, letter for letter? Most scammers get you by specifying a domain name that is so close, that its hard to notice. That way they can say legally they were providing you with a service and that their letter PLAINLY (not!) stated that you were registering MYDOMAINNAME.CA or MYDOMAINNAM.COM not MYDOMAINNAME.COM. Buyer Beware!!!
I do offer an annual Domain Monitoring service for $50 a year. Its not something I push or plug often. Frankly, I never thought it would be something that anyone would need. I’m also sure that some people think this service is ridiculous. But the more I see these types of mistakes, the more I understand that alot of people just don’t have the time or energy to deal with the realities of maintaining a domain without assistance.
You need to renew your domain regularly. One-year, Two-year, Five-year, 10 years. At some point its going to come up.
You need to keep your contact information up-to-date. This is a legal requirement by ICANN. You will often see annual requests to confirm your information from many if not all registrars (by EMAIL, but again, you should recognize the company name as your true registrar).
Consider your domain name as important as your lease on an office space. You certainly know who your business lease is held by and when you need to renew it, right?
p.s. Please read the rest of my “Warnings” category for other scams on the internet, particularly fake “listing services” bills which also target website owners.