Domain Slamming Advisory

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I've just become aware that one of our clients fell victim to a deceptive practice known as domain slamming. In this scam, a predatory company issues emails or letters asking the recipient to renew and transfer their domain name(s) before they expire. These letters tend to rely on the victim's perception that this is part of the normal renewal process or promise some sort of (false) savings.

The critical point of this scam is to trick people to transfer control of their domain name from their trusted domain name registrar (a company that manages domain name registrations) to control by the scamming company. Once the scammer has control, they may charge higher rates for renewal and be uncooperative in releasing control of the domain name.

How do you avoid this scam?

  • If you receive an email or letter from a company that is NOT the registrar you pay for your domain name, kindly delete or recycle it. Do not send them money!
  • Opt for PRIVATE registration with your domain registrar. It costs a few extra bucks per year, but scammers and spammers cannot contact you!
  • Report fraud to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Your complaints help keep these badly-behaving companies in check.
  • Check with the Better Business Bureau (BBB) before doing business with any company.
  • DO NOT release the transfer code for your domain name to any company. This allows them to take control of your domain name (potentially holding it hostage or raising your fees).

Years ago, these letters were extremely deceptive. After intervention by the FTC, they've tweaked their wording, but still rely on lack of consumer knowledge to trick people out of their money.

In this case, we were able to intervene when our client asked us what the transfer code was. We prevented the bogus domain transfer, however, they were still duped out of a $105 fee.

For more information:

The companies involved are well-documented online, but may be operating under different names.

  1. Read this Wikipedia article.
  2. Check out this Google search.
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