We have recently seen an increase in the number of our customers reporting receiving scam letters from a company calling themselves the Domain Registry of America.
Please read this post thoroughly and help protect you and your business from this scam.
What is the scam?
The company trawls through the on-line databases of domain names searching for their expiry dates and business contact addresses then send out a “notice” to “renew” your domain before it expires.
The “notice” however, looks more like a renewal invoice and the scam is that the they are trying to get you to sign over your domain name from your current Internet service provider to their own one to receive all future payments.
Many Internet users have fallen victim to this scam and in 2003, the American Federal Trade Commission issued a banning order on the Canada-based Domain Registry of America (DROA) for:
- misleading consumers into thinking that they are renewing their registrations with their current registrar when, instead, they are transferring their registrations to DROA’s registrar, eNom.
- failing to disclose a $4.50 processing fee for any transfer requests that are not completed, even when the failure occurs without any fault of the consumers.
- failing to issue promised refunds in a timely manner, in violation of the Truth in Lending Act (TILA), sometimes delaying refunds for months.
Is it a “notice” or invoice?
If you are on the receiving end of this Internet scam you will likely receive a letter in the post similar to the one below.
The “notice” states “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 you on the Web.” and also displays in bold “This notice is not a bill”, however, it certainly does look like one complete with a space for your card number and signature.
As well as the blatant attempt to deceive you into thinking this is an invoice for your domain name renewal the prices this company charges are outrageous, sometimes two or three more than the normal industry rate.
What can you do?
First thing to do is to contact your web hosting company, let them know you have received this “notice” and ask them to check the status of yor current domain renewals. They will be more than happy to confirm your current account status.
Secondly and lastly, we urge all of our customers, subscribers and readers not to reply to this “notice” and chuck it directly into the bin. DO NOT SEND MONEY. This is a scam.
Let us know if you have received a similar letter and what your thoughts are about it.