Domain Scams & Phishing Spam

December 7, 2010 at 9:08 am
filed under domains, general
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Rarely a week goes by without one or more of my clients or contacts receiving an unsolicited offer to renew their domain, secure a domain that they might be interested in before someone else nabs it, or some other related or similar scheme designed to extract some cash from them without good reason.

Anyone unfortunate enough to fall for one of these schemes will at best find themselves a few pounds worse off and the owner of a domain or domains that they don’t need, don’t want or are no use to them, but at worse could find that they have inadvertently transferred their genuine domain to a new domain registrar who can now charge what they want to maintain or renew it, or worse still, could have lost their domain completely only to find it is now being used for less respectable purposes with no way to get it back.

The following are some tips that will help you avoid falling for any of these scams and keeping your well earned cash and your domains exactly where they belong.

  1. NEVER agree to pay a company that you have never heard of before, no matter what they suggest might happen.
  2. Only the company that originally registered a domain for you can action the renewal – unless you have agreed to it being transferred.
  3. .com domains can be registered or renewed for 1-10 years at a time, domains can ONLY be registered or renewed for 2 years at a time.
  4. Searches for available domains cannot be tracked, new domains are registered instantly, no other company is informed of the registration and no-one can intervene with the registration process.
  5. Companies that sell domain names by telesales are almost always scammers.
  6. A registration company is not obliged to check trademarks and company names before agreeing to register any domain – this is the registrant’s responsibility
  7. It is not possible to “earmark” or reserve a domain name.
  8. No genuine company would take an order from a prospective customer for some domain names and then ring around the competition to see if they want to buy them first.
  9. Look at the domain name being offered for renewal very carefully, scanners often use similar looking domain names with very slight differences in spelling or extensions (.com etc)
  10. If in doubt, check them out! Ask someone you know and who knows about domains, or simply contact the person or organisation who deals with your domains, web site or email. Failing that, contact Kennetiq, we’re happy to help!

On a related subject but not specific to domains, the volume of spoof and phishing emails appears to be steadily increasing and several of the tips listed above are equally as valid when dealing with these.

The most important thing to remember is that NO bank or building society will ever ask you to “confirm you account details” via email. If in doubt simply call your bank to check.

Another tip is to look very carefully at the links included in the email. A giveaway that it is SPAM is if the links don’t match with the company who allegedly sent the email. Also, most email software will display the actual web address when a user moves their mouse over the link (without actually clicking), so compare this ‘actual’ address with the one included in the email and if they don’t match then be suspicious.

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