Dubious Domain Name Registration Tactics
I had a client call who opened the conversation with “I think I goofed”.
As you may know, you have to re-register domains names, and there are very many registrars out there that you can switch between if you wish. He had received a “renewal” bill from a domain registration company for a domain name he owns, and he paid the bill.
However, the bill didn’t come from his original registrar but from a 3rd party which engages in near-fraudulent practices, in my opinion.
Worst of all, the annual domain name registration fee from the scamster was 3 times what he should normally pay.
What these outfits do is prey on companies that may not have a total understanding of their domain name registry; maybe someone in marketing original registered the domain name with one registrar, and then the accounting department gets the bill from another registrar and thinks it’s legitimate.
Sometimes the invoice looks like an official government document, or it has an authoritative sounding name like “The Domain Name Registry of USA”. Registry information on domains names is easy to obtain on the internet, so they include all the valid details on their invoices. The wording is very careful so as not to be outright fraud, but still ambiguous.
Other dubious internet billing
I have also heard of cases of companies receiving bills for example for “Google Listing Fees”. Google does not charge to list your company’s website. (The only thing they charge for is pay-per-click ads.)
If you receive an invoice you are not sure of…
Don’t pay anything unless you’re 100% certain. It’s never easy to get money returned. Either they will outright not give you a refund, or they will drag the refund out over months and months hoping you will give up. Sometimes the amount is so paltry, it’s easy to let it go, but imagine these charlatans sending similar bills to thousands of duped companies who all give up trying to get a refund. Ching-ching!
If you get a bill you are unsure about, drop a quick email to your website designer, IT company, hosting outfit or whomever you use for your website. Ask them if the bill is legitimate. I am sure they detest this kind of thing as much as I do and would be happy to help you.
Keep everyone in the loop
And remember to keep your accounting people informed so they don’t inadvertently pay the bill without knowing the story.