Domain Names (part 2)
Domain Scooping - Don't get fooled!
At Back2Front we take care of all of the necessary details of owning a web site for our clients - including domain name registration and yearly renewals. However, every year some of our new clients receive official looking snail mail letters from the Domain Registry of Canada. The letters urge our clients to send a $50.00 renewal check for the domain name to the Domain Registry of Canada. Failure to do so ...the letter warns... may result in loss of the right to the domain name.
The domain names in question had never been registered with the Domain Registry of Canada. Sending a renewal check would in effect cause the domain name to be transferred to the Domain Registry of Canada, usually well before the actual renewal date and for considerably more money than is the usual going rate for domain renewals.
The letters are part of a massive and long-standing domain scooping scam. Domain registration companies (who apparently do not care about their reputations) use these tactics as a way of getting thousands of domain name registrations each year. This is not the only domain scooping scam. Other such scams are done over email or even over the phone.
For most people, domain name registration, and renewal is something done only rarely (once per year - max) so it is predictable that the details of the registration could be forgotten in the interval. Unscrupulous companies can take advantage of this if you are not aware.
If you are a Back2Front client - do not worry about your domain name - it will be safe with us. If you ever have any questions about your domain name, or if you receive communications about it - that you are not sure of - ask us first before doing anything!
If you are not one of our clients protect yourself in the following ways:
- When you register you domain name - keep a record of the transaction both on your computer (by keeping all of the emails sent to you regarding your domain name registration) and by printing out and keeping in a safe place, a hard copy of the documents (in case of computer failure).
- If you receive unexpected communications about your domain name (especially those asking for money) contact the company you originally registered your domain name with, and ask them to verify it.
- With most registrars you can optionally choose to have your contact information withheld from the public 'Who Is' data base (the official list of all registered domain names). This will help prevent scammers from contacting you.
For further reading here are links to web sites providing considerable detail on this and similar scams:
By Candace Carter, Back2Front - The Web Site People, 2007