August 14, 2012
While domain scams have received a lot of attention over the years, they still catch out the distracted and unwary.
The Canadian Internet Registration Authority (CIRA) has issued an alert concerning an online scam where fake email renewal notices are being sent to .CA Registrants. CIRA states the party is not a CIRA Certified Registrar and is fraudulently posing as another registrar in an attempt to obtain payment.
The email mentions the registrants domain name and states it is about to expire. The target is then directed to a PayPal payment page in order to "renew" the domain name. Since being alerted to the issue, CIRA has worked to have the page removed.
Domain name renewals scams come in a variety of forms. It would appear the incidents referred to by CIRA are purely a scam; but in others, the domain name is renewed, but not under the same registrar.
Australian registrants have often been the targets of parties sending out fake renewals that resulted in the domains being transferred from the registrant's provider of choice to another registrar without being aware this was occurring.
Aside from the deception, these "renewals" can often cost more than what the registrant is currently paying and the quality of service under the new registrar may be sub-standard.
Another form of renewal scam is where the domain name listed in the invoice is very similar to the registrant's name, but may have a different extension. This is often referred to as the Asian Domain Scam. The target isn't paying for a renewal, but for the registration of a name they may likely never use.
Australian registrar Domain Registration Services advises people should be extremely careful when receiving renewal notices to ensure that they come from their registrar and not another company; and that the notice relates to their names, not ones they have not registered.
If registrants believe they have received bogus renewal letters or have been misled about renewals, their registrar should be contacted and complaint lodged with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).
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