domain name scams

Domain Name Scams: How to Recognize & Avoid Them

Recently, several businesses called to ask about the urgent domain notification emails they received. A typical subject line was: “This is your final notice for domain listing.” At first glance, these emails sound official. However, when I looked closer, I wasn’t fooled. These are fake emails cleverly disguised as legitimate requests for domain name renewal or transfer. Scammers try to trick individuals into switching domain registration or paying a fraudulent registration fee. In this article, I write about domain names, how to recognize domain name scams, and how to avoid these scams. But first, I’ll explain what a domain name is.

Domain Name Registration

A domain name is your Internet deed to your online real estate. The domain name is the group of letters that “point” users to your website on the internet. For example, our company domain name is PackerlandWebsites.com. Every website owner needs a domain name and needs to renew it at least annually. On a side note, Packerland Websites helps clients choose and secure a domain name that works best for them.

Check out the options for affordable domain names.

Domain Name Scams

Next, I’ll describe some telltale signs indicating you are the target of domain name scams.

  • Emails with errors. Scammers, especially those operating outside the U.S., send emails with spelling and grammatical mistakes.
  • Emails without account numbers. A legitimate domain name expiration notice will include your domain name registry account number.
  • Emails from unusual senders. Even reputable domain registrars like GoDaddy get spoofed by cybercriminals. Look closely at the sender’s address. Is it legitimate?
  • Emails with peculiar links. NEVER click on a link you don’t recognize and trust. For example, Packerland Websites received a domain name renewal email with a link to a hair salon, not a reputable domain name registrar. That tipped us off!
Domain Name Scams
Here’s a sample letter from a client. Looks official, but don’t take the bait. Watch for the words like “transfer” and “This notice is not a bill.”

Domain Name Protection

Lastly, I’ll explain how to protect yourself from falling victim to these scams. Essentially, domain name scams rely on people being unfamiliar with their domain name registration. Therefore, knowledge is power. The best way to protect yourself from domain name scams is to answer two questions:

  1. Where is my domain name registered?
  2. When does my domain name expire?

If you don’t know the answer to these questions, visit the website whois.net and type in your domain name. You will find the registrar and expiration date. Otherwise, contact the Packerland Team, and we’ll check.

Final Tips to Avoid Scams

If you receive a questionable email, read the entire message for clues indicating it’s legitimate. Although the email may contain technical terms that sound official, don’t be fooled. If you have doubts, contact us and ask. The Packerland Websites team is happy to help.