I receive their letters at least once annually, for each of the four websites I own and maintain for myself. Whether you are a client of mine, or have a website of your own too, I’m sure you get these scam letters in the mail too.
Every year, DOMAIN SERVICE OF AMERICA sends owners of website hosting accounts and domain registration accounts a misleading letter to switch domain name registrars. As a result, annual rates might substantially increase to 3-4x the original cost of what is typically $10-15 for a 1 year term with most registrar services.
Periodically I receive e-mails from clients asking me about these letters, and thought it be wise to address these con artists from affecting you.
Please disregard these letters you receive. It’s a scam. Do not send them any money.
The phony invoices they mail to your address are expertly designed. Nowhere on their billing or cover letter does it state they are your website’s current domain name registrar. They prey on potential targets that their domain name is about to expire. In doing so, they attempt to send their letters before, and in advance of your actual domain name registrar and web hosting company contacts you about annual renewal.
Domain Registry of America obtains your mailing information from other companies and services who may have solicited your domain registry information. In addition, they could also obtain your address from the public “whois.com” database of registered domains. If you have not been targeted by them, it means you have kept your registrar information private through your current providers.
Because the billing information they send looks official, it’s very easy for DROA to fool individuals. Despite that, it’s completely unauthentic.
If you have fallen victim to their trickery, there isn’t much you can do. Once payment is submitted, it’s non-refundable. Thankfully by reading this news, you shouldn’t have to worry about DROA mail anymore. The paper makes for a good fire-starter.
With all legitimate registrars and hosting companies, your website’s domain address is registered and renewed only once per year. Knowing that information will give you ease of mind.
End Notes – From the Federal Trade Commission
A new scam is targeting would-be website owners by offering the opportunity to pre-register new top level domain names. Domain names, such as ftc.gov, are the unique terms that enable Internet users to locate a specific website. The top level domain is the final extension, such as .com or .org.
According to the FTC, scam artists are taking advantage of the news that the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) has made new top level domains available to the public.
The new top level domains are .aero, .biz, .coop, .info, .museum, .name, and .pro.
The FTC says consumers are getting fax and email solicitations that offer a chance at a new top level domain name, for a fee, as soon as it becomes available. Some registration services are
guaranteeing new top level domain names or promising preferential treatment in the registration process. But, the agency cautions, these offers may be misleading.
The FTC advises consumers to protect themselves by:
- Avoiding any domain name pre-registration service that guarantees particular top level domain names or preferential treatment in the assignment of new top level domain names.
- Avoiding doing business with people who send unsolicited faxes – regardless of the offer. Unsolicited faxes are illegal.
- Staying on top of the news about top level domain names at the ICANN website, www.icann.org.