Domain Name Renewal Scam: How It Works
If you own a website, you are invited to pay attention to the Domain Name Renewal Name scam going around these days. There are two versions:
Scenario 1: You receive an invoice in the mail (or email), requiring you to renew your domain as it will "expire soon". You think about it for a second and realize that, yes, your domain expires this specific day they mention in the letter! How does the scam work?
Watch the video below to see the Domain Name Renewal Letter Scam exposed – did you receive a similar letter?
Domain Name Renewal Scam Video
The document you received is official and has payment options, along with a self-addressed envelope. However, little do you know that it comes from a different register company!
They found your info on sites that offer domains registration details, such as Whois. By paying their renewal letter, which comes with a small form to fill out, you actually agree to transfer your domain to their registrar. No to mention that the price will be hijacked and filled with a bunch of unnecessary add-ons!
Scenario 2. Some shady companies offer you a very small price for domains during the initial purchase, only to hit you with a crazy high price for the renewal a year later. Their justification might be that "we support you as a new business owner and want to offer you a competitive price in the first year".
Many entrepreneurs fall victim for this, not knowing that they will have to pay significant amounts for the next few years. Many registrars do not say what the price will be next year.
Domain Name Renewal Scam: How To Avoid
Always check with the registrar company if the price offered is a promotional price when purchase. Find out what it will cost next year. On the other hand, only renew your domain through your original registrar's website. Check it periodically.
The scammers will also try to pull this scam through a phone call. The letter you receive is not an invoice, but a sneaky transfer procedure.
Domain Name Renewal Scam: How To Report
Make your family and friends aware of this scam by sharing it on social media using the buttons provided. You can also officially report the scammers to the Federal Trade Commission using the link below:
How to protect yourself more:
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5 thoughts on “Domain Name Renewal Scam”
Thank you for the article. Articles like this should have been added to a KnowledgeBase of every hosting provider.
There are also another scams like hosting providers locking you with them for life by adding small print leaving/termination fee like easyspace. I was forced to pay to leave and moved to [website]
I had a domain registration with GoDaddy, which was due for payment 9/8/2017, I literally forgot about it and came across the renewal email today 10/2/2017. I immediately logged into my GoDaddy account. After accessing the account, there was a message stating I did not have any domains with GoDaddy. I called support and was told they could retrieve my account and the yearly charge was $14.99 and then he stated since I was past the 19-day deadline I was going to have to pay an $80.00 retrieval fee. So, instead of the $14.99 true domain price, GoDaddy was going to scam me $80.00 for 5 minutes worth of work???
I was surprised and very disappointed to see GoDaddy, a company I respected sinking to such tactics and scamming their customers. I could see a $10.00 retrieval fee but $80.00, GoDaddy, wake up and smell the roses. These kinds of antics, loose you customers and eventually puts you out of business or in a diminished capacity like AOL and Myspace!!! Remember how "BIG" they used to be until they started overcharging and scamming their customers…
Hey Milena – there are hundreds of firms handling registrations and while pricing policy at GoDaddy has certainly some way to go to improve (I manage several dozen domains and GoDaddy seems to pull renewal fees from a hat, they can vary so much, with their only explanation being that the price for a domain renewal "depends on what fee was charged when it was first sold"), I don’t think it’s fair to judge them on your experience alone. With the growth of different domain names one should treat any price as a possible maximum, and seek out fees from a few other firms too.
Many (most?) registration agents seem to offer low introductory prices and a higher renewal fee is normal. Indeed so normal that I regularly transfer domains around 5 or more different firms so I take advantage of a first year fee being low and then use another firm in second and subsequent years, looking around about 6 months before expiry (you need to be at least a month before renewal date to have a transfer go through smoothly… I just ensure there’s a larger gap between transfer and renewal date as that way none of the scammers sending out ‘your domain is going to expire shortly’ messages even get to process my domains and send out their garbage messages.
I just received the same letter too! It comes from IDNS (Internet Domain Name Services). I live in Canada and this letter came as well with a self-addressed envelope. They say:
"AS A COURTESY to domain name holders, we are sending you this notification of the domain name registration that is due to expire in the next few months."
Get it? "As a courtesy", they say…as it is if I was registered with them. However, I am not, and here is how they continue after a little bit of more bullshit:
"You MUST RENEW your domain name to retain exclusive rights to it on the Web (thanks, Sherlock Holmes) and now is time to transfer and renew your current Registrar to Internet Domain Name Services. FAILURE TO RENEW your domain name by the expiration date may result in a loss of your online identity making it difficult for your customers and friends to locate your on the Web." (well, thanks for that one as well)
Then they proceed in giving me prices as well as options to do it online – now! So obviously there are a lot of idiots out there who get scared, cause this totally is crafted making you to believe that you are actually belongings to them…
Well, thanks IDNS Canada – you are insulting people’s intelligence.
That’s so true! I owned a domain name through the scammers at GoDaddy that just expired this month…I bought it last May for $15 or so… When the renewal email came in my Inbox recently, I opened it up and I saw that renewal is… $34.99!!!!
Whaat? I called them and say ‘How the hell are you guys charging 35 dollars when I paid only half last year?!!" The agents says just like in the article: "well, in the first year everything is half off" Whaaaat? Since when???? I’ve been owning domain names with GoDaddy for over 5 years but this is a pure scam. He said "well, because we wanted to support you as a new business owner, we gave you half price"…
What a shitty move GoDaddy. How come you never told me in the past (during my registration of the previous 12 domain names) that the price is half off? Is this like a new approach? You’re insulting our intelligence and for this I will move all my domains on a different service and boycott your scammy practices forever.