Some of our clients recently received postal (snail) mail about domain renewals, and forwarded them to me to make sure they were legitimate. Turns out they were a total scam. You should always check with your web consultant before taking action on anything mailed to you either by e-mail or regular mail concerning the name of your website or your domain. Your web consultant will (or at least should) have all of the appropriate information and be able to tell right away if you need to take action or disregard them.
This particular scam came in the regular mail, from a company calling itself IDNS, Internet Domain Name Services. Coincidentally, I actually received the same letter, myself, several months ago (see below). While the letter seems professional enough and gives just enough information to make you think it’s from your current web domain provider or host, it’s not. They know when your domain name expires and are asking you to make a long-term investment by paying for up to two years up front. However, what they’re really trying to do is get you transfer your domain to them. You see, by simply paying the invoice, you’re actually (and usually unwittingly) authorizing them to move your domain to their service, where they will then start to invoice you at a much higher rate after the “introductory rate” expires. In many cases, even the introductory rate is far more than you’d pay your current provider. (To be frank, this “offer” would cost me more than five times the price I currently pay for my domain!) It’s not that these companies are trying to steal your domain and hold it hostage or sell it off; they’re just trying to get you to change providers, not unlike the phone companies who at one time became known for using unscrupulous means to get customers to unwittingly change providers.
Responding to these types of requests can have serious repercussions. Some of them include:
- Losing control of your domain – you lose control either permanently or temporarily, which results in a huge hassle when you discover your domain is no longer where you thought it was hosted, and can’t get it back.
- Much higher costs to keep your domain – you end up paying well over market price for something that you already owned!
- Service interruptions – You experience an interruption of service to your business website and your e-mail accounts as you try to regain control of the domain.
Don’t answer these letters, even though they threaten that you will lose your domain. Speak to your web consultant first, and let them handle it.