Cybercriminals frequently use domain expiration scams to take advantage of website owners and businesses. These scams involve sending emails or letters to website owners, falsely claiming that their domain name is nearing expiration, and offering to renew it for a high fee. However, these scammers have no intention of actually renewing the domain, leaving many victims paying for a service that does not exist. I have had clients ask me about this after receiving such fraudulent correspondence so I will explain how to identify and avoid these scams.
What are Domain Renewal Scams?
At some point, your website’s domain will reach its expiration date, usually on an annual basis. Your domain registrar will notify you when it’s time to renew. However, be cautious of domain renewal scams, often conveyed through deceptive emails or letters that mimic legitimate domain companies like GoDaddy. These scammers falsely claim that your domain name is on the verge of expiration, creating a sense of urgency. To prevent losing your domain, they propose renewing it at an inflated price, often up to 10 times the standard cost. Stay vigilant and verify the legitimacy of renewal notices to avoid falling victim to such scams.
How to Identify Domain Renewal Scams
When you receive an email or letter notifying you of an impending domain name expiration, your first step should be to scrutinize the sender’s email address or the company’s website. Scammers frequently resort to fabricating deceptive email addresses or websites, closely resembling those of reputable domain registrars, emphasizing the need for thorough verification.
Another indicator of a potential scam lies in the language within the communication. Scammers often resort to urgent or threatening wording to prompt swift action, employing phrases like “Your domain will expire soon – take immediate action or risk losing it forever!” Legitimate domain registrars refrain from using such coercive language, opting instead for a more transparent and informative approach, offering ample advance notice to facilitate the proper renewal of the domain.
The best way to avoid falling victim to domain expiration scams is to be vigilant and follow these tips:
- Keep track of your domain’s expiration date: Most domain registrars will send you a reminder email when your domain is about to expire, so make sure to keep track of the expiration date and watch out for any emails or letters that arrive before that date.
- Watch for urgent or threatening language: Scammers will use language designed to scare you into acting quickly.
- Check the sender’s email address: Make sure the email or letter is coming from a legitimate domain registrar. Scammers will often use fake email addresses or websites to trick you into giving them money.
- Use a reputable domain registrar: If you host your website, stick with reputable domain registrars such as GoDaddy or Google Domains. These companies have a proven track record and are less likely to engage in fraudulent activities.
- Trust your domain with me: I offer domain concierge service for $2.40/mo for most domains (this includes the cost of renewal). Then you know your domain will be automatically renewed and you can discard any notices you receive from these scammers.
Domain renewal scams can be expensive and frustrating for website owners. You can report this activity to the Federal Government here. If you want to check the information, like the expiration date and registrar online you can go to https://godaddy.com/whois.
I hope you found this information helpful. If so, please share it with someone.