Domain scammers prey on us all

17.03.10  |  Tech support

I’ve been working with Source for over five years now (although I’ve been doing this sort of work for much longer – quite scary when you consider my age – what have I done with my life?)

I’m a big believer that your chosen web design agency shouldn’t just be a web design agency but also, where possible, should be able to advise you on all matters relating to your Internet needs. That’s why I always go out of my way to help if one of my clients has an Internet problem. True, there are many occasions where I can’t do anything to help (the first question I’ll ask a client with technical support issues is “can you get to Google?” as that’ll show me whether it’s our service at fault or their Internet Service Providers) but nevertheless, I’ll help when I can.

So it’s of no surprise to me that, over the last five years, I’ve seen a dramatic increase in the number of clients calling or e-mailing me asking me whether they should pay any attention to the company trying to charge them an extortionate amount for their domain name renewals.

Whether it’s the Domain Registry of America with their dodgy renewal forms, or a member of a Chinese organisation contacting you to let you know that someone is trying to register, generally speaking it’s safe to ignore any communication from company claiming to be dealing with your domain name – except the company that you’re already dealing with, of course!

Domain Registry of America

The DRoA are the original, although not necessarily the best as the saying goes. They operate under other names, particularly the Domain Registry of Europe. Despite having a number of complaints levelled against their mailings with the Advertising Standards Authority, they are apparently continuing to send out mailers that mislead the recipients into thinking that their domain names are under threat and require renewal immediately.

If you receive a letter from these guys, bin it. Or tear it up into little strips and then burn it, depending on what you’d find the most satisfying.

The Chinese Domain Scam

This is a slightly unusual scam in that the e-mail that arrives in your inbox sounds so honest and genuine that you’re almost inclined to go ahead with it. The basic gist is that you receive an e-mail from the domain registration organisation in Asia, who are writing to you to warn you that a company in Asia is attempting to register a domain name with your company name/trademark.

The thinking is that you’ll irrationally want to buy a domain name based in China just because it bears your company name. For a company that trades in China a lot, it may be an idea, but for the most part it isn’t necessary – and I certainly wouldn’t recommend giving your money to someone associated with scammers!

There are other scams out there, these are the two that generally crop up time and time again in my work. Remember: If you get anything like this, ignore it and bin it. If you’re unsure, you can contact me and I’ll cast an eye over it!