Domain Name Renewal Scams
Frequently we get phone calls from clients in our contractor marketing program saying they received a noticed either by mail or email warning them that their domain name is about to expire, and included with the mail is an invoice promising renewal upon payment. They want to know if the notice and bill are legitimate.
How Domain Name Registration Works
Domain names are registered for periods of time. More like they are leased for a period of time and the lease can be renewed at anytime. You can never really own a domain name. You can use the domain name exclusively for the amount of time you have paid for. Time periods are sold in units of 1 year with 10 years being the most time you can purchase upfront.
Domain names are registered through the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) accredited domain name registration companies known as domain name registrars. Some of the more well known registration authorities are companies like GoDaddy, TuCows and Network Solutions just to name a few. It is common for domain name registrars to use resellers to sell domain names through them. These authorized resellers are called service providers. Footbridge Media is an example of an authorized reseller or service provider for GoDaddy domain names.
If you have registered a domain name directly with a domain name company such as GoDaddy, communication directly from them about the status of your domain name registration would be the only legitimate communication concerning domain name expiration. If you purchased your domain name through a reseller such as Footbridge Media, then communication from them would also qualify as legitimate communication. Receiving communication from any other company about your domain name renewal should be considered a scam.
How the Domain Name Renewal Scam Works
The reason someone will receive scam renewal notices are, these companies crawl databases that contain domain name ownership and expiration information, and they look for near expiration date on domain names to send an official looking letter to the owner, so they can attempt to scam a renewal fee out of them. Some are authorized domain name registrars trying to trick you into transferring your domain name to their registrar company, so they can collect the immediate renewal fee and future renewal fees, and others are out right thieves, that will collect the fee and your domain name will still expire.
I Don’t Remember Where I Got My Domain Name
It is not unusual for somebody to register a domain name and a year later when it is time to renew their domain name, they are notified by two or three different companies with a domain name renewal notice. Most likely one of those notices are legitimate, but oftentimes the owner does not remember who they registered their domain name through.
It really is pretty simple to figure out where you purchased your domain name. Go to domaintools.com and enter your domain name into the whois search box. Once you click submit, you will see all kinds of information about your domain name such as:
- Registrar: The registrar is the ICANN authorized domain name registering company.
- Created on date: The date you first registered your domain name.
- Expiration date: This is the date your domain name will expire if you do not renew it prior.
- Ownership and technical information: This would be you or your company’s information, your assigned technical information, or you may have contact privacy selected for option.
- Service provider: This would be the authorized reseller of the Registrar.
So, there two things specifically will let you know if you have received a legitimate domain name renewal notice, or if renewal notice is a scam.
- The Registrar
- The Service Provider
If you do not see a service provider, then you are dealing directly with the registrar. If the registrar name on the renewal notice does not match the registrar on the whois report, then it is a scam.
Domain Names Through Footbridge Media
For our contractors that are part of our contractor marketing program and have authorized Footbridge Media to manage their domain name, as long as their account is in good standing, we automatically renew their domain name when it is time at no additional charge. If you are a contractor in our marketing program and you have purchased your domain name somewhere else and would like for us to take over the management of your domain name at no additional charge, contact your account manager or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.