At First Call Web, we get asked this question several times a year…
The Domain Renewal Notice
This is how this scenario typically plays out…
A web client receives a domain renewal notice. They call or send in an email questioning the legitimacy of the renewal notice.
The “domain renewal notices” are intimidating. They use language like “Urgent,” “Domain Name Expiration Notice,” and “This is your final reminder.” These notices do exactly what they are designed to do – they make our web clients doubt themselves. Our web clients sometimes struggle to remember — “Do I register my domain?” “Does First Call Web?” “Did First Call Web used to register my domain, and now I have to?”
These notices are wordy — the scammers are counting on people skipping the fine print. The notices also look like a legitimate invoice which adds to the confusion.
The objective of the scam is to get domain owners to accidentally move their domain from their current registrar to the sketchy registrar.
Once this transfer takes place, the scammers can do whatever they want with your domain and website. Sometimes this leads to an interruption online. Most of the time it results in paying way too much for an annual domain registration.
How to know if your domain renewal invoice is real or not
If you have hired a web developer to build your website and you have a web management agreement with them, you should never have to worry about domain renewals. At First Call Web, we register our clients’ domains for them, so they can wad up any domain renewal “invoice” they get and throw it in the trash. If you are not certain, you can send an image of the renewal notice to your web developer and they will be able to tell you whether or not the invoice is legit.
If you don’t have a web developer, read the fine print. All of these domain registration renewal scam invoices that we have seen eventually have some type of language stating that “this is not a bill” or “this is not an invoice.” You have to read through a lot of other information to get to that language, but it will be on a domain registration renewal notice that is not legit.
There are instances where people either don’t know or can’t remember where their domain is registered. To figure this out, you can simply do a “WHOIS” check. A WHOIS search provides information on who is responsible for a domain registration and/or an IP address. There are several websites that provide WHOIS searches. At First Call Web, we use https://www.whois.net/. A WHOIS search will tell you who registers your domain if you don’t know or if you have forgotten.
Once you figure out where your domain is registered, you will know which domain renewal bills are real and which ones aren’t. For example, if you know or discover through a WHOIS search that your domain is registered with GoDaddy, you will know that unless a renewal notice comes from GoDaddy it is more than likely fake.
Any additional questions about scams, etc
We hope this helps to clear up any questions you have about domain renewal scams, how to avoid them, and how to know who your domain registrar really is. First Call Web is always happy to answer any questions like these, whether you are web client or not. Hit us up through our chatbot at https://firstcall-web.com/ with all the web questions you always wanted to ask but were afraid to.