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ACCC Warns (Again) Of Bogus Domain Name Renewals

December 23, 2016

It's an old scam, and the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission keeps warning about it, but unfortunately it keeps working on the unwary - bogus domain name "renewals". 

Over the course of 2016, the ACCC states it has received over 100 complaints from small businesses who forked out cash after receiving hard-copy letters that appeared to be invoices for domain name renewal

These were in fact solicitations for the registering of a new domain name, usually very similar to the registrants name, via a company other than their usual registrar. The solicitations are purposely designed to deceive.

It's not just the loss of money on an unneeded domain name that has had an impact. Some of these businesses then missed the genuine renewal notice, perhaps disregarding it as having been paid.

To help avoid falling victim to this scam, ensure any invoice you receive concerning your domain name has come from your registrar, check the spelling of the name on the invoice and read it over very carefully; including any fine print. 

Any staff dealing with the payment of invoices should be trained in how to spot this particular scam; or better still, to flag such communications with you for review first before making payment.

If after review you're still not sure, contact your registrar via phone for confirmation of authenticity using the phone number on your registrar's site, rather than the one on the "invoice".

You can report ruses such as this to the ACCC via the Scamwatch report a scam page.  

Hard figures on how many Australian registrants have been duped by this ploy aren't available; but the Commission has been warning about this sort of scam for well over a decade. We've published on advices from the Commission in 2011, 2013 and 2014

Given the fact it continues to happen and postage isn't cheap, obviously some serious coin is still being made.

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