How To Easily Avoid Expiration ‘Scams’

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One of the downsides of owning a website domain is the number of communications that we receive. If you decide not to pay the privacy fee when registering a domain, any number of scammers and other legitimate but shady businesses will be able to contact you to offer their 'services'.

I received a letter in the post today from iDNS Canada. I’ve had a few in the past, as have some of my clients. More than once, I’ve had an email or a phone call from concerned clients asking me about the letter and what their response should be.

These are the details that cause concern:

  • The letter looks like a bill – even though it says that it isn’t.
  • It says in bold at the top of the letter: ‘Domain Name Expiration Notice’.
  • It contains lines such as ‘Failure to renew the domain name by the expiration date will result in a loss of your online identity’.
  • It also warns your friends and customers will no longer be able to find you.

Unlike other letters you may receive, the actual text of this letter can tell you everything you need to know:

  • The letter isn’t a bill, and you owe them nothing.
  • You do not have to switch domain registrar.

Sounds legit! What Could Go Wrong?

The letter gives the option of paying $40 for 1 year of domain registration, $70 for 2 years and $160 for five years. However, if you shop around, you will usually be able to renew your domain for $15-$20 per year.

As you can see, the sole purpose of this letter is to get you to pay three or four times the market rate for their services!

Fight the Scams

So first things first, don’t panic, if you receive an iDNS letter, throw it away.

If it’s not iDNS, do the following:

  • make sure that this company is on your list of organisations that you pay to keep your website up and running correctly.
  • if you have a maintenance agreement with your website designer, tell them about your letter and ask them for advice.
  • if you don’t have an agreement, and don’t want your website designer’s help, Google the name of the organisation and find out if it’s a scam. Chances are, you won’t be the first person to receive that communication.

If you are satisfied that you don’t have a business relationship with the company that sent you the letter, throw it away.

Reducing Your Stress

Going forward, you should know who your suppliers, contractors and service providers are. If you are currently having your website set up, ask your designer for the details of all of companies that you need to pay to keep your website going. These include:

  • Domain Name Registrar – the companies that register your website name
  • Hosting provider – the people that actually host the files
  • Plugin providers – especially premium plugins – these people create the extra functionality that your website needs.
  • Any other companies that you may be paying to keep your website online and maintained

If you do receive a letter or an email from an unknown company, check to make sure that it’s on your list and that someone you pay hasn’t changed their company name. If it’s not legitimate, ignore it.

If you think you are paying too much for your domain name, contact me and I’ll help you to check your prices.

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