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How to Avoid being a victim of Domain Name Fraud and Scams

This page: domain-name-fraud.php was last updated: May 26 2012 15:12:22.


This page has been produced in response to a series of customer queries relating to recent domain name solicitation warnings.

What is Domain Slamming?

Domain Slamming is a type of scam in where an internet service provider (ISP) or domain name registrar tries to trick customers of different registrars into switching from their own ISP/registrar to the scamming ISP/registrar. This is done under the pretense of confusing the customer is simply renewing their subscription to their old ISP/registrar

What's is Fraudulent Invoicing for Domains?

Part of the Domain Slamming process will be for the bogus registrar to raise a fraudulent invoice. These will usually be very official looking with impressive letterhead and an authoratitive sounding name such as "Domain Registry of America" or DROA.

Which companies are making these solicitations?

Domain Registration is a very competitive field. Some companies have felt the need to base their business model on stealing the businesses from other registrars and ISP's. Whilst fair competition is to be welcomed, this activity is hardly a benefit to the consumer when customers are being tricked into paying very much more for their renewal, than if they had stayed with their current provider.

Also to collate the information required to carry out the scam, usually involves the abuse of the WHOIS service, and the registration processes of the top level registrars. For instance Nominet has successfully sued and closed down scam registrars using the WHOIS data for this purpose, for being in breach of Nominet's intellectual property rights. Companies recently reported to be engaged in this type of business model are:

  • Internet Registry of Canada (IROC)
  • Internet Registry of America (IROA)
  • Domain Registry Of America
  • Domain Registry Of Canada
  • Verisign/Network Solutions

How do I avoid being scammed with fraudulent invoices?

Quite simply ignore all letters and communications relating to your domain name registrations that do not come from your current provider. If you have forgotten who your domain provider is (it happens!) we would recommend carrying out a WHOIS search, where your registrar and often their upstream provider will often be listed.

Domain Name Front Running

Domain name front running is a very differnt domain name scam whereby a domain name registrar uses insider information to register domains for the purpose of re-selling them or earning revenue via ads placed on the domain's landing page (the term "front running" comes from a similar stock market or share scam). By registering the domain in advance, the registrar effectively locks out other potential registrars from selling the domain to a customer.

This has actually happend to a couple of Weycrest customers recently who used another registrar to carry out their domain searches. Larger registrars can then take advantage of the 5-day "domain tasting" trial period (currently under review by ICANN). If the domain is not taken up by the registrant, or advertising and PPC returns look poor for the scam registrar, the domain will usually be dropped and once again become available for registration.

Help, I think I'm already a victim!

Well the easiest thing to do is stop the money. Hopefully the scammers will not proceed to transfer or register your domain if there is little chance of them getting paid. If you have paid by bank or credit card company, contact your card provider or bank to discuss having the transaction reversed. If you paid by Paypal, arrange for the transaction to be reversed.

How can we stop this happening

There is a tendancy with internet fraud to ignore and assume nothing will be done about it. Make a difference by contacting your current domain registrar and appropriate authorities such as Trading Standards and the Police.

You can report any domain name scams to us

Please send your evidence of domain solicitation to your current domain provider to us if the domain was originally registered by us. We areworking with the proper authorities such as Nominet (who have resposibility for UK Domains) and Tcows, one of our major global domain providers, to look at the viability of changing the law and policy with regard to domain slamming and solicitation scams. You can help us by taking the trouble to send us details of any solicitation. These can be sent fraud [at] weycrest.com

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