Scam Prevention

Domain Renewal Emails are Solicitations in Disguise

By Emily Patterson

– December 14, 2012Posted in: Alerts/Scams, Computers-Internet-Technology, National

Watch out for solicitation emails that look like bills for domain name renewal. Savvy scammers are cashing in on the fact that many businesses and individuals who own domain names don’t keep track of where and when they’ve registered them.

How the Scam Works:

You own domain names for business or personal use. One day, you receive an email that looks like an invoice for the registration or renewal of your domain name. The email looks official, uses your name and/or address and comes from a legitimate sounding business, such as “DNS Services” (see right). It tells you to click on a link and pay $50 or more.

Before you click through to the website, be sure to read the email carefully. It’s likely a sales pitch in disguise. These emails are selling services you probably don’t need, not actually asking you to renew a domain.  Typically, these types of spam offers come in the mail stamped clearly with the notice “Not a Bill,” but the email versions are much harder to spot.

Scammers are currently using the business name “DNS Services,” but that is likely to change as the scam evolves. Some fake invoices avoid using a business name all together.

Is my Domain Name Expiration Notice Real?:     

  • Check the website address carefully. Sometimes the domain name listed in the invoice is very similar to your actual domain name, but has a different ending or spelling. For example, it may end in .net instead of .com.
  • Know the names of your providers. Figure out whether the bill actually comes from the business that sold you your domain name.
  • Check for other signs, such as high prices (domain registration should be $10-$15 not $70), the use of a personal email address and a link to a third party payment provider, such as PayPal.
  • Avoid this issue by selecting a single business to register all your domain names. That way, you can identify this spam immediately.
  • For More Information

For more advice, check out BBB’s tips about computer and web issues.

To find out more about scams, check out the new BBB Scam Stopper.

Burglary prevention tips of the day:

Whether away or at home, make your house look occupied and difficult for burglars to break in. Whether you are gone for an extended amount of time or a just couple minutes, make sure to all outside doors and windows are locked. If you are planning on being away for a short time, leave lights on in various rooms of your house. If you are planning on being away for an extended period of time, connect lamps to automatic timers, making sure they will be turned off during the day and on during the evening hours. Keep your garage door closed and locked whenever unoccupied. Do not let mail or newspapers pile up near your door or driveway, instead make arrangements for the Post Office to hold your mail or have a trusted friend or neighbor hold them until you are home. Schedule to have your lawn mowed. Routinely check your door and window locks to make sure they are secure. Pushbutton locks on doorknobs are easy for burglars to open, instead, install deadbolt locks on all your outside doors. Because sliding glass doors are easy to maneuver, make sure to place dowels in tract. If you are unsatisfied with your locks, call or visit with a locksmith or hardware store for safer alternatives.

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