Did you receive an unsolicited email from a ‘company’ indicating that your domain is going to expire and it is time to renew? If that company is one you have never worked with before and it seems a little fishy, that is probably because it is. The person that just emailed you is likely a scammer carrying out an illegal practice known as domain slamming.
What is Domain Slamming?
SmallBiZ.com defines domain slamming as fraudulent domain registration that occurs when “domain name registrars cause domain name owners to change their domain name registration from their existing company upon renewal by using misrepresentation and false advertising”. Often times, they are contacting you about renewing your domain name and requesting payment information in return. When a victim moves forward with renewing their domain name in response to such emails, their domain name is then transferred to a new registrar.
Once the scam has been accomplished, the scammers usually “force you to pay the highest prices on the market for your domain name” (Infosec Institute). Victims are often left with their website and email not working and their domain information unavailable.
How Can I Protect My Domain?
If you receive an email about renewing your domain from an email address which you have not renewed through in the past, you will want to conduct a WHOIS search. Doing so will allow you to identify generic domains and find out who the registered domain owner is. So if email@example.com notifies you that your domain is expiring, you can see if this ‘Bob’ is representing your current registrar or a company you have never heard of before.
Infosec Institute also recommends keeping track of when your domain name is supposed to expire and knowing who your domain name registrar is so you can always renew it on time. Above all, do not accept a domain renewal email as being authentic until you can prove it. Every time you receive an email about renewing your domain name, verify that you know and trust the sender.
For more information about domain scams and how you can stay protected, contact Informatics.