The internet is loaded with scam artists.
Every day there are email offers for incredible search engine optimization services guaranteeing first place ranking. I also get plenty of emails asking for my help to transfer money in exchange for a percentage of what gets passed through my bank account.
Scams. All scams!
Domain name scams are also very common, some of them arrive via regular mail and some arrive via email. It's important to recognize them as scams and not pay them.
Here's a photo of a domain name expiration notice I received last week via regular mail:
(click to enlarge)
The paper notice explains that my domain name will expire on November 7, 2015 if I don't renew it, that's more 120 days from now. This is pretty sleazy tactic that's trying to trick you into paying this notice before my current registrar sends me a reminder email reminder around 90 days before the renewal is due.
This paper notice quotes an overpriced renewal rate of $45 for 1 year. That's higher than Network Solutions yearly domain price of $34.99 and much higher than $9.99 that GoDaddy charges.
iDNS is especially sneaky in the service they are providing because they do not include a printed copy of the terms of service you are agreeing to when you sign and return this notice. The notice simply says for a complete list f our terms and conditions, please visit www.idns.ae/tos. By signing this notice you are granting iDNS authority to transfer your domain name, charge you overpriced fees, and potentially harm how your website and emails work.
Here's a second type of domain name scam I see regularly:
Dear Sir or Madam,
We are an agency engaging in registering brand name and domain names. Our center received an application from POKL Global Ltd and they apply to register "PerosiJeweler" as their brand name and some top-level domain names. We found the name is same as your used name. I don't know whether or not you have authorized them.
Now we are dealing with the application and we need to confirm whether you have authorized them to do this. Please let me know quickly in order to solve this case promptly. Looking forward to your reply.
Address:An Qing Lu Hefei Shi, Anhui Sheng, China CN 23001
The above scam is trying to trick me into worrying about someone else who allegedly is attempting to register my business name. Truthfully, I don't care what's happening in China; they can register my business name if they want... but they won't. This is just a ploy that you should not fall for either.
From what I'm explaining here, it might seem like you should ignore every domain name notice that comes across your inbox, but don't go that far.
At least once a year, you will get an ownership confirmation email. This email is sent to the address on file and it asks for the confirmation of your name, address, and email. This email does not ask for money, only confirmation.
You will also get a legitimate bill every year from your registrar. This email bill is usually sent around 90 days before expiration, 60 day, 30 days, and then 5 days before the domain name is to expire.
The best thing to do in all circumstances is to ask your website programmer. They will be able to identify a scam within a few seconds.