Beware of emails indicating that your domain name has expired and if you don’t pay to renew it you will lose the name and your website will stop working. Unless you purchased your domain name yourself from a registrar such as GoDaddy these emails are more than likely a scam.
I look after quite a few domain names for my clients and have received several of these scam emails for several of the domain names I handle.
The Fake Email
Fake Or Scam Email
The fake or scam email will look similar to this one I received for North Shore Music. Note the “Attention Accounts Payable/Domain Owner/ followed by information from the website.
The email will have a sense of urgency indicating that your domain is expiring very soon.
URL To Make Payment
The URL they want you to click on to make payment will not be the company that you purchased your domain name from.
How To Know When The Email Is Real
I generally purchase domain names on behalf of my clients that I design websites for. In general, I will give a heads up that the expiry date is getting close and will send an invoice to you when it is time to pay for the renewal of your domain.
If you purchased your domain name from somewhere else the process is usually similar. For example, GoDaddy starts sending expiry notices well before your domain name expires. There will be several before you actually need to pay.
You should always log in to your account rather than clicking on links to pay if you purchased your domain elsewhere. If I purchased your domain name the email you receive from me will have the invoice attached and instructions on how to pay via eTransfer.
As with all scams, the scammer is trying to make you panic so that you will click on the link and provide your credit card information. Not only will you lose the amount they are charging you but there is a danger that they will use your credit card information to make additional purchases.
Always pay close attention to what the email says and how it is wording. Often there are red flags that you can pick up on. For instance, a lot of scam emails come from other countries where English is not the first language and they use translators to create the email. There are often spelling mistakes and grammatical errors in the email. Who sent the email? If you don’t know the sender there is a good chance the email is not legitimate although that is not always the case.
It doesn’t matter if it is the domain name expiry scam or another scam such as you have won a prize from a company that you are familiar with if you’re still not sure if the email is a scam or if it is real use the information that you have independently found through websites or emails you have received at the time of purchase. DO NOT click on links received in emails unless you are certain that the email is real. Most companies would much prefer that you call or email them asking questions than to find our you have been scammed.