Day 2 of avoiding Christmas scams – Fake domain name renewal notices

Our digital footprints are significantly bigger than we may ever think they are. Somewhere in the ether of the Internet we have left our mark and those who have nefarious intentions can use that information to try to extract personal and financial detail from us that the fraudsters can use to fund their illicit projects.

Domain names fall into this category. They are subscription-based services and in most instances today, they are set to auto-renewal. For many years there were organisations who would send “renewal” notices by post to registrants near the renewal date, making their communication look like a renewal notice, but in reality it was an instruction to transfer the domain name to them.

Fortunately, the practice has died out, with more communication moving to email and registrant details becoming harder to find due to GDPR regulations.

However, attempted domain name renewal scams via email still exist, as the example to the left show. However, there are a few steps you can take to check the legitimacy of any request to renew a domain name:

  1. Is the email from your existing domain name registrar? You can quickly check this by doing a WHOIS check on a free look-up tool such as Whois.com;
  2. Is the domain name actually due for renewal?
  3. Is the domain name actually valid? In the example on the left-hand side, the domain in question is actually a sub-domain automatically created through WordPress – the domain name “wordpress.com” certainly doesn’t belong to me (alas!)

Losing control of domain names can damage the reputation and revenues of an organisation – don’t let a speculative email damage you and your business.

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