$245 for a Domain Name? What?!
If you have received an invoice for a domain name that’s very similar to one you already own but ending in .net.au and with an extortionate price you can pretty much guarantee that it’s dodgy. We’ve noticed a marked increase in the number of our customers that are receiving the invoices through the mail asking them to pay for a domain name that they either don’t need or don’t own. This scam seems to have been going on for a number of years and even has a customer alert put out about it from auDA, the governing body in charge of .au domains.
How can I tell if it’s a scam?
There’s a number of things you need to look for if you receive on of these invoices. The first thing is the price. As an example we charge $10 per year for a .net.au domain. If you are paying $245 for a domain then you are paying too much. The second thing to look for is if the ending of the domain matches the one you already own. Is it showing a .net.au instead of .com.au? If so, then it’s probably a scam. The third thing to look for is if the invoice comes from the company that you already use to purchase your domains. If it’s not then you can guarantee it’s just a fishing expedition from the company sending out the invoice.
Companies registering your brand in China?
Another variation of the scam that we are also seeing more of lately is the Chinese Domain Name Scam. This is where you receive an email like the one below suggesting that somebody is trying to register your brand in a domain name in China. Ignore it, it’s nothing but scare tactics trying to get you to register a domain name that you generally don’t need.
An example of one of the emails we have seen
Details have been removed to protect the innocent
From: “Stephen Ma”<firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: General Company Matters “*************”- Domains And Network Brand Registration Application
Date: 21 October 2014 5:43:42 pm AEDT
(This is a very important case, so please transfer this email to your CEO or appropriate person. Thanks a lot.)
We are the department of Asian Domain Registration Institution in China. Here I have something to confirm with you. We formally received an application on October 20, 2014 that a company claimed “PliueHing Company” were applying to register “*****************” as their Net Brand and some “************** Asian countries top-level domain names through our firm.
Now we are handling this registration, and after our initial checking, we found the name were similar to your company’s, so we need to check with you whether your company has authorized that company to register these names. If you authorized this, we would finish the registration at once. If you did not authorize, please let us know within 7 workdays, so that we could handle this issue better. After the deadline we will unconditionally finish the registration for “PliueHing Company” Looking forward to your prompt reply.
Senior Consultant Manager
If you are ever in doubt about the legitimacy of an email or invoice we’re always happy to take a look for you.