• Domain Slamming: scammers take advantage and profit from people that do not track or pay attention to their domain name registrations and renewal dates.
  • Domain Name Renewal Scams

    Your domain name registration will need to be renewed every year, or at a longer interval, depending on your renewal period. It is possible to forget the name of the company you paid to register and/or renew your domain name (your "domain registrar"), but doing so could cost you extra money or even the loss of your domain. Scammers take advantage and profit by assuming people do not track or pay attention to their domain name registrations and renewal dates. They use automated tools to search public records of the WHOIS database (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WHOIS) for upcoming domain renewals and then send deceptive solicitations for services that look like domain renewal invoices. The letterhead or the invoice will often bear a generic-sounding domain registrar business name that would be easy to mistake for the registrar you may have used when originally registering a domain name, often many years ago.


    The letters or invoices will often read like this:

    This letter is to inform you that it's time to send in your registration and save.

    Failure to complete your Domain name search engine registration by the expiration date may result in cancellation of this offer making it difficult for your customers to locate you on the web.

    Privatization allows the consumer a choice when registering. Search engine subscription includes domain name search engine submission.

    You are under no obligation to pay the amounts stated below unless you accept this offer. Do not discard, this notice is not an invoice it [sic] is a courtesy reminder to register your domain name search engine listing so your customers can locate you on the web.

    This Notice for: WWW.[YOURDOMAINNAME.COM] will expire on July 1,2016. Act today!

    The sentence within the body of the letter or in fine print, "You are under no obligation to pay the amounts stated below unless you accept this offer," makes the letter legal as simply a solicitation.


    If you pay, one of several things may happen:

    • Your domain name will never get renewed and you will lose both your domain name and your money.
    • The renewal letter includes a form that looks like a renewal but is actually an initiation of a domain name transfer to a different owner, in which case you will lose both the domain name and your money.
    • The renewal letter includes a form that authorizes the new company to become your new domain registrar, often at much higher rates and with a clause to "manage" the domain for you for a minimum of one or more years. Sometimes the agreement includes upsell services as well. In that case you could end up paying far more for domain renewal than you should.


    Screenshot of a typical domain record.

    Screenshot from a sample domain record.
    Highlighted is the Registrar information.

    How to check out the legitimacy of a domain renewal invoice:

    1. Find your original domain name registration or renewal receipt.
    2. Verify that the domain name renewal did indeed come from your domain registrar.
    or
    1. If you can't find your domain registration or renewal records, go to https://whois.icann.org/ and look up your domain name.
    2. Scroll down and look for the word "Registrar." The name of the current registrar will be there.
    3. Verify that the domain name renewal did indeed come from your domain registrar.

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    WebCreate.com, LLC

    WebCreate.com, LLC, is a Web- and online-presence development company helping businesses and organizations connect with their customers through sophisticated websites and social media. We partner with companies to transform the way they do business, and we value building relationships that are based on mutual success.