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Domain Services Renewal and Search Engine Submission Service Scam #TBT

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Domain Services Renewal and Search Engine Submission Service Scam TBT daily-golden-nugget-1464-18
For this week's #ThrowbackThursday, I'm jumping back to the topic of domain name scams. Unfortunately, this throwback doesn't go back too far since I last wrote about this in June 2015, when I reported the exploits of iDNS and their Domain Name Expiration Notices.

A new scam came through my inbox this week that business owners should be aware of. I deem this one as aggressive because I received several identical emails for many domain names that I manage for clients. Take a look at this email, and then I'll explain what's happening here...

FROM: Domain Services
SUBJECT: Domain Notification: MATTHEW PEROSI This is your Final Notice of Domain Listing - RANDOMDOMAIN.COM
TO: HIDDDEN@DOMAINNAME.COM

Attention: Important Notice , DOMAIN SERVICE NOTICE
Domain Name: RANDOMDOMAIN.COM

Complete and return by fax to:
1-206-309-0873

ATT: MATTHEW PEROSI
ADMINISTRATIVE CONTACT
COMPANY NAME INC.
HIDDDEN@DOMAINNAME.COM
10 MAIN STREET - - NOWHERE - NEW JERSEY - 12121
UNITED STATES
WWW.RANDOMDOMAIN.COM
Please ensure that your contact information is correct or make the necessary changes above

Requested Reply Before
March 1,2016

PART I: REVIEW SOLICITATION

Attn: MATTHEW PEROSI
As a courtesy to domain name holders, we are sending you this notification for your business Domain name search engine registration.

This letter is to inform you that it's time to send in your registration and save.

Failure to complete your Domain name search engine registration by the expiration date may result in cancellation of this offer making it difficult for your customers to locate you on the web.

Privatization allows the consumer a choice when registering. Search engine subscription includes domain name search engine submission.

You are under no obligation to pay the amounts stated below unless you accept this offer. Do not discard, this notice is not an invoice it is a courtesy reminder to register your domain name search engine listing so your customers can locate you on the web.

This Notice for: WWW.RANDOMDOMAIN.COM will expire on March 1,2016 Act today!


Select Term:

[ ] 1 year 3/1/2016 - 3/1/2017 $75.00
[ ] 2 year 3/1/2016 - 3/1/2018 $119.00
[ ] 5 year 3/1/2016 - 3/1/2021 $199.00
[ ] 10 year -Most Recommended- 3/1/2016 - 3/1/2026 $295.00
[ ] Lifetime (NEW!) Limited time offer - Best value! Lifetime $499.00

Today's Date: _____________________ Signature: _____________________

Payment by Credit Card
Select the term above, then return by fax: 1-206-309-0873

RANDOMDOMAIN.COM

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

By accepting this offer, you agree not to hold DS liable for any part. Note that THIS IS NOT A BILL. This is a solicitation. You are under no obligation to pay the amounts stated unless you accept this offer. The information in this letter contains confidential and/or legally privileged information from the notification processing department of the DS 3501 Jack Northrop Ave. Suite #F9238 Hawthorne, CA 90250 USA, This information is intended only for the use of the individual(s) named above. There is no pre-existing relationship between DS and the domain mentioned above. This notice is not in any part associated with a continuation of services for domain registration. Search engine submission is an optional service that you can use as a part of your website optimization and alone may not increase the traffic to your site. If you do not wish to receive further updates from DS reply with Remove to unsubscribe. If you are not the intended recipient, you are hereby notified that disclosure, copying, distribution or the taking of any action in reliance on the contents for this letter is strictly prohibited.


This particular scam is designed to create panic so they can get your money quickly. This email arrived in my inbox early morning on March 1, 2016. The notice itself says the deadline date is March 1, 2016 and that date is mentioned 6 times in the notice. The idea here is that they make you panic that your domain name will expire the day of the notice, and they are hoping you will act without reading the fine print at the bottom.

That fine print says "There is no pre-existing relationship between DS and the domain mentioned above." Furthermore this scam is formatted to look like a domain name renewal, when in fact it's a solicitation to add your domain name into search engines. Read this carefully: "This notice is not in any part associated with a continuation of services for domain registration. Search engine submission is an optional service that you can use as a part of your website optimization and alone may not increase the traffic to your site."

Just to be clear, the alleged service they are selling, assuming they do anything at all, is to visit the URL Submission pages on search engines to submit your domain name. These are the submit pages for Google and Bing, but others exist too:
https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/submit-url
http://www.bing.com/toolbox/submit-site-url

As I said, their offer of 1, 2, 5, and 10 years of service makes it look like a domain name registration renewal, when in fact their alleged offer is to submit your domain name to the search engines every year.

Repeat Offender


While researching this scam, I found a few scam reports that dated back to November 2009! Several of the reports since 2014 looked identical to the email I'm showing above, including this same business address: "DS 3501 Jack Northrop Ave. Suite #F9238 Hawthorne, CA 90250 USA".

The tactic they are using is quite old. They are scraping through the public domain name registrations to acquire the names, addresses, and emails of domain name registrants. These emails are unsolicited and certainly fall into the CAN-SPAM Act of 2003 because they do not clearly indicate that they are an ad.

This tactic gave rise to the need for private domain name registration. For an extra fee, you can have your registrar obfuscate your personal information to prevent these scams from ever reaching you. My own company provides that private registration service, which is why I received several of these emails all at once the other day.

It won't be long before the email address notice@domainnotices684.com and the domain domainnotices684.com are tagged by firewalls and anti-scam software, but that won't stop these guys. They will simply register another domain name tomorrow. In fact, the domainnotices684.com was registered on February 8, 2016. I've listed their domain name registration information below, as you can see they also use a private registration service called "WHOISGuard Protected" to hide their own identity.

Domain Name: DOMAINNOTICES684.COM
Registry Domain ID: 2001349065_DOMAIN_COM-VRSN
Registrar WHOIS Server: whois.enom.com
Registrar URL: www.enom.com
Updated Date: 2016-02-08T14:43:37.00Z
Creation Date: 2016-02-08T22:43:00.00Z
Registrar Registration Expiration Date: 2017-02-08T22:43:00.00Z
Registrar: ENOM, INC.
Registrar IANA ID: 48
Reseller: NAMECHEAP.COM
Domain Status: clientTransferProhibitedhttps://www.icann.org/epp#clientTransferProhibited
Registry Registrant ID:
Registrant Name: WHOISGUARD PROTECTED
Registrant Organization: WHOISGUARD, INC.
Registrant Street: P.O. BOX 0823-03411
Registrant City: PANAMA
Registrant State/Province: PANAMA
Registrant Postal Code: 00000
Registrant Country: PA
Registrant Phone: +507.8365503
Registrant Phone Ext:
Registrant Fax: +51.17057182
Registrant Fax Ext:
Name Server: NS1.DOMAINNOTICES684.COM
Name Server: NS2.DOMAINNOTICES684.COM
DNSSEC: unSigned


Protecting Yourself


I doubt that domain name scams will ever stop, and they are all designed to trick you into thinking you overlooked the renewal of your domain name. It's pretty difficult to overlook the legitimate renewal notices from your real registrar, especially since they usually send them 90 days before expiration, 60 days, 30 days, and then 5 days before the domain name it to expire.

As long as your personal information is listed on the domain name public records, you will continue to receive scams like this. You could hide your information by paying for the extra privacy service, or you could use an alternate email. To protect yourself from email scams, you could set up a special email with Yahoo or Gmail and use that in your registrar account. Just make sure you check it at least once every 3 months, otherwise you might miss those legitimate renewal notices.

The bottom line is that you should never blindly pay bills you don't immediately recognize, even when it comes to website and domain name bills. Whenever you have doubt, just ask your webmaster to review them for you first.






AT: 03/03/2016 08:51:27 AM   LINK TO THIS GOLD NUGGET
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