Is it a scam? Or is it legit?

SCAM / SPAM ALERT!

These emails go out frequently to domain owners. Their sole intent is to alarm you into clicking the links (which you should never do) and purchase their service (which you should never do) thinking your domain is going to expire (which it likely is not).

Is this a scam? Or legit?
Is this a scam? Or legit?

In this picture, you will see they are telling me the domain in question is about to expire, when in fact, it will not expire for months. They are also trying to get me to renew with them for about 5x the cost of my normal renewal which is only about $10-12/year.

In the footer of the email, there is text that says they are CAN SPAM compliant – this is a lie. In order to be compliant, you would have had to sign up for their emails or requested to receive their newsletter, thus the “unsubscribe” link.

So what is it?

This is a scam. A phishing attempt to either get me to send them my money, more of my identity information, financial information and potentially, ownership of my domain. I could lose a lot more than the website address and the $61 they are asking for. Sometimes I receive these emails and they are asking for $79 to renew a domain that isn’t expiring for more than 8 months.

In this particular example (I blurred the personal information for privacy reasons), they have emailed me at an address I don’t have listed on any of my domains. I am frustrated because I don’t know where they got the data. That is a red flag. They used an email address I only use for certain things, and never for domain registrations. Another red flag.

What should you do?

If and when you see this in your inbox, here are a few things you can do to stay safe and lower your frustrations

  • MARK IT AS SPAM & DELETE IT. Do not click on any links. These emails are NOT legitimate.
  • Keep your passwords unique and private and change your passwords often
  • Use a separate email address for domain registrations so you can better track these sort of things and more quickly identify when the phishing scams arrive
  • Use privacy guard on your domains so your personal data is not made public. The registrant information listed on a domain is a matter of public record and within a matter of hours, you will start getting emails from scammers. If you use the domains for business, you can register the unique email address to help weed out the hackers.
  • Don’t worry. As long as you don’t correspond with them and click their links, you are generally safe. If you are concerned, login to your domain registrar’s dashboard and check the domain’s expiration date. You will likely find that it is not expiring and you will feel better.

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