How do I know if a Domain Renewal Notice is Real or Fake?

Periodically you might receive a domain registration notice from a bogus company telling you that this is your final chance to register your domain name. This scam, among others such as registering your website with Google or other search engines for a charge, are completely false and should be deleted. You do not need to register your domain if it’s already registered; the annual renewal of your domain is all that you need to keep it registered. In addition to that Google will automatically scan and index your website for free; you do not need to pay to have your site listed on search engines. Listing it is not optimizing it for keywords, that’s Search Engine Optimization (totally different critter). If you need Search Engine Optimization, we can help you with that, feel free to call and discuss.

It can be very confusing for a small business owner to know the difference between a real notice from their true domain name registration company and a scam. So we’re writing this blog to help, not only help our clients but, anyone out there that is uncertain about their domain name expiration date as well as who they need to contact to renew it.

Call us if you’re not sure: (888) 987-7771
That’s what we’re here for!
(or call us if you are sure.. we get bored from time to time…)

Often times these scammers use company names that are very generic and make it sound like they are important or that they’ve been around for many years. They can even look up your contact information to see who owns the domain so they can refer to you in the email as though they know you. They’ll usually name list your address like you are in their database because your their customer, but in reality all they’ve done is a little bit of research on you and are technically attacking you. You can read more about how to protect your general contact information towards the bottom of this post.

Here are some ways to identify a Scam or Fake Domain Name Registration Notification:
(not that any of these in and of themselves are a confirmation of illegitimacy)

  • The price is nowhere near what you’ve previously paid for your domain name. ($10-$15 is the average cost per year for domain name without private registration. Private registration is usually around $10 more. So if it exceeds $25, you can almost bet it’s a scam.) The major Domain Name Registrars are: GoDaddy, Register.com, Domains.com, NetworkSolutions and SiteTechSupport (which is us… Modern Web Studios). If it’s anyone else, do some more digging!
  • Does the company sound familiar to you?
       Be wary of this by itself because they do name their companies in a generic way in hopes that you will feel like you may have recognized the name.
  • There’s a very close deadline (as in 7 days or so)
  • You’ve never received any notifications in the past from this person or company.
  • The person is asking for a check to be mailed. (Although sometimes their motive is not to get your money but your credit card information.) In a scenario where you are asked to send them a check, they’re to get your money in a way you cannot fight. Checks are permanent and cannot be disputed after they’ve been cashed. 

I’m going to be a little bit redundant here but this is very important. I’m going to list the opposite in case that’s easier for some people to understand and apply to their business.

Ways to confirm a Domain Name Registration Notification is Real:
(not that any of these in and of themselves are a confirmation of legitimacy)

  • The price is $10-$15 to renew the domain name, which is the average cost per year for domain name without private registration. Private registration is usually around $10 more. So if it is around $25 total, it is more likely to be legitimate.
  • Does the company sound familiar to you? The major Domain Name Registrars are: GoDaddy, Register.com, Domains.com, NetworkSolutions and SiteTechSupport (which is us… Modern Web Studios). If it’s anyone else, do some more digging!
  • You will usually have automated email notices sent out at 30, 15, and 5 days before it expires. We try to make an effort to give all of our customers a call or a personal email for it expires. So look for previous emails from that same person or contact.
  • A legitimate hosting or domain name company will tell you to log into your account to renew it. Even if it’s a legitimate one, your safest bet is to NOT click a link in the email but to go to the domain name that you know you used to register your domains and check for yourself. Although the easiest way is actually to just give us a call and we will tell you where your domain is registered and when it truly expires. Call us at 888-987-7771 anytime you have doubts about an email or snail mailed domain name expiration notification.

^ ^ ^ ^ This is an example of a scam  ^ ^ ^ ^

Steps to take to avoid the domain scammers:

1. Make sure that you set your domain registration as private. Most domain services have a charge for doing this, ranging from $3.95 per year up to $15 per year depending on the company you’ve registered your domain through. This will keep a predator from being able to see your registration phone number, address and other personal information that was used to register the domain.

2. Make sure you don’t have any personal information listed on the website such as home address and phone number. Naturally a business that has a physical location is going to want to have that information on the website but for those that do not have a need to have that information on the website you should remove it.

Please don’t hesitate to call us if you have any questions, even if you’re not currently one of our customers. We don’t mind taking some time in helping someone avoid being scammed.

Toll Free: (888) 987-7771
or
Forward the email you’re uncertain about to info@modernwebstudios.com and we would be happy to tell you who your registrar is and how to contact them to get your domain name renewed by the correct company.

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