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Beware of Fake Domain Name Renewal Notices

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Domain name renewal schemes are nothing new – we’ve been dealing with them for years – but we figured it wouldn’t be a bad idea to bring them to your attention. A quick Google search brings up thousands of examples.

The usual tactic, known as domain slamming, is fairly basic – unethical companies mine WHOIS records for Registrant information and domain expiry dates. Then, months in advance, they contact the Registrant either by mail or email with a very official looking and sounding document or message that tells them to protect their valuable name by renewing early. A Google Images search brings up a couple of scanned examples.

Of course, when the Registrant sends the cheque or pays by credit card, thinking they are doing the right thing, what actually happens is that a Registrar transfer is initiated. The Registrant will then blindly go through the steps to complete the transfer, again thinking they are doing the right thing to protect their valuable domain name.

Combatting this is really fairly simple, a few recommendations for registrants:

  1. WHOIS Privacy. This is the absolute best protection. It stops the practice dead in its tracks as there is no way for to contact the Registrant directly. Take advantage of WHOIS Privacy and the protection it offers. Backland Communications includes WHOIS Privacy for free as part of our domain registration.
  2. Domain locking. A locked domain can’t be transferred, again, preventing the domain slam. The transfer attempt may generate a support call by the Registrant to remove the lock, in which case you have the perfect opportunity to make sure the transfer is legitimate.

 

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