Someone's watching - you're an easy target & so is your domain name!
Knowing that your domain name is nearing its expiry date, you're not surprised when a renewal email lands in your mailbox. It urges you to renew your domain name as soon as possible, or lose it. What you gonna do?
Birth of a scam!
It started with telephone slamming, a scam involving users being duped into changing their telephone provider. The slammer would ask the user to take part in a survey or the like. In the small print there’d be a sentence authorising a change of provider. Along came the Internet and fraudsters saw the potential of updating the scam. Domain name slamming/hijacking was born.
Domain name slamming/hijacking
Dishonest registrars have seized upon this scam. Pretending to be your current registrar, you'll be told that your domain name is about to expire. You'll be told that you need to pay immediately and provide certain details. Unaware of the fraud and maybe not fully conversant with all that transfers and renewals involve, you act fast and provide what's needed... BANG! You just renewed your domain name with a dishonest registrar. It gets worse, your fees increase and you've unwittingly agreed to a long term registration contract.
Realising what’s happened, you want to transfer back to your old registrar as soon as possible. Here's where it gets tricky. You need an auth-code (EPP code/transfer key) from your current registrar, in this case the dishonest one. Whereas an honest registrar willing gives you this information, a dishonest one might demand payment for it, or it might forbid the transfer on bogus technical grounds. Worst case scenario? Your DNS service with your original registrar ends. Your website and email? KAPUT!
How did they find you?
When you register a domain name, all the details you provide are entered into the WHOIS database. This includes your personal contact details and the expiry date of your domain name. And yes, everyone has access and can see the information. Ever wondered why after registering a new domain name, you receive so much spam mail? Your details have been harvested by spammers, marketers, domain hijackers, and identity thieves.
How to protect your identity and your domain name
You’re an easy target and so is your domain name. An honest registrar won't need to ask for your details because you provided them when you created your account. An honest registrar will send you an authorisation form asking you to confirm that you accept the transfer. You’ll also have a grace period in case you change your mind and want to cancel the transfer.
If your domain name is with us we have a solution that can help. It's a regulated domain privacy feature that replaces your details with our domain privacy contact profile. Unlike some providers, you remain the legal owner of your domain name. Plus, if you turn on automatic renewal as soon as you register a new domain name, this scam won't touch you because you'll know that any renewal notices you receive are fake.
If you do receive an email that you’re unsure about, don’t share any of your account details or personal information with the sender. If we’re your registrar, we’ve already got all the information we need from you. Give us a call if you think you're being slammed, we can help.