A domain name carries your business identity and your website depends on it. Imagine receiving an email or notification that your domain is about to expire and you need to renew it urgently. In your haste, you might end up renewing it, especially if the email looks legitimate, and you’re not sure when your domain expires.
But unfortunately, you may later discover that you have in fact fallen prey to a scam known as domain scamming.
So what is domain slamming and what kind of problems can it cause? Are there ways to spot the signs of this scam?
What is domain slamming?
The term “domain slamming” was coined after phone slamming, where phone companies trick you into switching from your current phone service to theirs.
But domain slamming is more shady because victims aren’t told in advance that they’re going to transfer their domain name to another registrar. Instead, they get tricked.
During a domain snapping incident, you may receive an email, text message, or even a social media notification that your domain registration is about to expire and needs to be renewed anytime soon. emergency.
These messages sometimes look like bills and also convey a sense of urgency, empathy, and professionalism, which makes it easy for anyone to overlook the malicious intent.
Problems caused by domain snapping
So what if you naively end up transferring your domain to a fraudulent registrar? Here are some potential issues you may face after experiencing a domain snapping incident.
Lose ownership of your domain
As a domain owner, losing ownership of your domain can be your worst nightmare; yet, many face this harsh reality once they fall prey to this scam.
Loss of your website or email address
Depending on how you’ve set things up, you may lose access to your important digital assets, including your emails.
In the worst case, your valuable website might even go offline.
Pay a higher renewal rate
Victims of domain scamming always end up paying higher fees to renew or transfer their domains with fake registrars.
The price of domain renewal with fraudulent registrars is often much higher than the actual purchase price of your domain. In retrospect, domain renewals should generally cost less than the initial purchase.
You have nowhere to turn
Sometimes the fraudulent domain registrar can disappear right after the transaction.
And some domain slamming companies operate from overseas, which can further complicate matters. They might even deny that the transaction ever happened, to keep you subscribed to their domain registration services.
How to Spot Domain Snap
While it’s easy to fall for the domain scam, there are ways to protect yourself against it.
For example, you should watch out for suspiciously worded messages that include phrases such as “Notice of domain registration expiration”, “You must renew your domain name to retain exclusive rights to it on the web”, and “Failure to renew your domain name through expiration can result in a loss of your online identity, making it difficult for your customers and friends to locate you on the web.
Always be on the lookout for the following:
- Ignore any email or correspondence that arouses fear, urgency or confusion.
- Ignore correspondence from a registrar unless it is from a company you are actually registered with. If you don’t remember who your registrar is, perform a WHOIS lookup. This will help you identify the registered owner of your domain, and you can even find your domain’s expiration date there.
- Consider it a red flag if the registrar is asking for a higher than normal renewal fee.
- Check if the domain name given in the correspondence is similar to yours but not exact. These alterations may be minimal, but make all the difference.
- Avoid any notification that threatens you with your website’s ranking on Google or other search engines.
When it comes to protecting your domain, one small oversight can land you in a lot of trouble. The good news is that by paying close attention to these signs, you can avoid domain problems.
Register domains carefully and intelligently
Buying or renewing a domain name can be a tricky process, especially when you have to watch out for scams.
But a little caution and planning can go a long way. In addition to making sure you are registering with a legitimate domain registrar, extend your domain registration for many years. Fortunately, most domain registrars can renew domains up to 10 years in advance.
Setting up automatic domain renewal might be your best bet. Not only will this prevent your domain name from expiring, but it will also help you ignore all types of domain slamming solicitations.
Cybercriminals can exploit abandoned domains for malicious purposes. Learn how to protect your domain from expiration.
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