Domain Registry Scams

Domain Registry of CanadaHave you ever received a “Domain Name Expiration Notice” from either the Domain Registry of Canada or the Domain Registry of America such as the one shown here to the right?

If you do get one, just shred it!

The letter will be addressed to you, and opens with “As a courtesy to domain holders we are sending you this notification of the domain name registration that is due to expire in the next few months“.

It also advises that “You must renew your domain name to retain exclusive rights to it on the Web” and “Failure to renew yur domain name by the expiration date may result in a loss of your online identity making it difficult for your customers and friends to locate you on the Web”.

Hmmm… that could cause some concern, right?

Well, pay attention to those sections that read “transfer and renew your name from your current Registrar” and “THIS IS A SOLICITATION FOR THE ORDER OF SERVICES AND NOT A BILL“, or you may get tricked into transfering and renewing your domain for 1, 2 or 5 years at exorbitant prices — $160.00CDN for five years.

Don’t get fooled!!

If you get a letter or email from the Domain Registry of America, trash it and file a complaint with the FTC. If you get one from the Domain Registry of Canada, please read and follow the information supplied by the Competition Bureau all the way back in 2001.

Comments

    • says

      I receive the notices periodically and the sad part is they also send these to my customers. Several of my customers actually paid them. They were angry at me for not telling them. I usually try to send out notices to my customers to let them know this is a scam!

  1. says

    Because I have around 25 domain names I get these letters from the sleazy Domain Registry of Canada about 5 times a year. In fact, I have one sitting on my table right now.

    I always write on the bill that I think they are really sleazy people and then send the bill back to them without any payment.

    I don’t place my return address or any postage on the envelope, however. I believe that Canada Post then charges the recipient for the postage that was required.

    If everyone who received a bill from these sleazy operators would do the same, perhaps they would stop sending out these bills.

    Thanks for taking your time to bringing this to the attention of people who may not be aware of the scam.

    Perhaps everyone of us who has a blog should do the same just as a service for the good of humanity.

    Ernie Zelinski

  2. says

    You know what, I got one of those in the mail and just threw it away because I recognized it as a solicitation. My host never sends messages in the mail when it is time to renew. That’s what tipped me off. I should probably think about locking my domain name just to be safe.

  3. says

    We have these in Australia, too. They’re worded extremely well and it’s easy to see how someone could confuse it for the real deal. The prices are just ridiculous.

  4. Denise Griffitts says

    I wrote about this very thing a month or so ago. The Federal Trade Commission is quite aware of this group. It is a terrible shame that an entire business model is built on trickery. It seems to me that as hard as they work to steal business, and as much money as they spend on printing and mailing that if they put their minds to building a legitimate business that they would very likely succeed!

  5. says

    Broken link – “file a complaint”…

    I get these letters all the time. Filing a complaint is irrelevant because they are, in fact providing a domain registrar function. The fact that they try to lure you away from your current, and most likely FAR less expensive one, is not enough of a reason for the American FTC to take action. If it were, these guys would have been gone long ago. There are other companies that write these letters as well, but they all seem eerily similar.

    If, on the other hand, they just took your money and let your domain name expire anyway, then they are guilty of a crime. THAT the FTC would be interested in. Charging you more for the same, or even lesser level of service is not a crime – it’s a mistake on the part of the customer.

    Don’t be fooled. Just continue with the same registrar you began with. Most of us understand this and are well aware of the costs involved. Where it usually goes wrong is larger businesses who have changing staff and that don’t really keep a constant eye on the ball like we entrepreneurs do. Those well intentioned folks trying to do well by their company get sucked in by the alarmist gravity of the letter as Ros points out.

  6. says

    Hi Ros,

    Yes, get the Canadian one faithfully. Glad I was educated early enough to know to throw it away. It certainly does look official, doesn’t it? Thanks for supplying the link to read up on exactly what it “isn’t” which is good to know.

  7. says

    Hi Ros,

    I’m glad you have brought this to the attention of the readers. We have been getting these letters several times a year for our various sites, and I recognized them as a scam from the beginning. But I wonder how many others have been taken in by this scam.

    By the way, we met you at the System seminar in Chicago in ’05.

    Thanks,

    John

  8. says

    I received one last week lol. I looked at the prices and was going to send them a letter back telling them I could renew my domains anywhere for a quarter of the price. I didnt feel them worthy of wasting my time on the letter.

    Thanks for getting the word out about these people

  9. says

    I’m usually pretty good at catching those types of scams but since it is blog related, I might have clicked without thinking (though I do try not to). But now I’ll be extra vigilant. Thank you for the heads up – and all your great help and advice. I really appreciate you and your site. :) :) :)

  10. says

    I also get notices from them for renewals. Have tried to get off of the list, to no avail.
    Try to talk to them and you will see pressure selling there also.

  11. says

    There are a number of domain registration companies looking to grow their businesses by stealing business from other companies. While we welcome fair competition in the marketplace, some companies believe the best way to win business is to solicit existing domain name registrants from other companies. Wherever possible, these companies will target registrants and trick them into moving their domain registration business. Some companies recently reported to have been involved in this type of activity are:

    * Domain Registry of America (DROA)
    * Internet Registry of Canada (IROC)
    * Internet Registry of America (IROA)
    * Verisign/Network Solutions

    be careful!!!

  12. says

    Yeah I received very similar letter. It was from any company from France. I just thrown it away into the bin.

  13. says

    I’ll never forget when I got my first one of those, way back when! I was totally green, had my site with Yahoo using Sitebuilder – so hadn’t actually learned much, you know? Basically, I really didn’t know a thing. And that letter really freaked me out! Those jerks!!!

  14. William Gerald says

    There is always someone out there trying to make a dishonest dollar.

    Now these folks have added a new twist to their most recent letters wanting me to transfer and pay their licensing fees for web sites I don’t even own.

    Just Plain Bill

  15. says

    Hi Rosalind

    I received one last week from Melbourne Australia. Thank God I always use GoDaddy for my domains!! Thank you for warning people.
    Bob Howard

  16. Milt Dana says

    I am always concern with scams, hoax and ways people try to separate me from my money and I get nothing in return. How can I find out about honest money making web sites where I can put in some honest work and get paid an honest income? If the internet is so good then why are there so many people out there doing dishonest things. Their tactics turn me off to the whole idea of ever making any money on the internet. I would consider myself a beginner since I have never made any money on the internet. But I am a veteran when it comes to spending money on things that never pay. Just give me one site that is honest so I can say they are not all bad.

    Milt

  17. says

    How interesting. I wrote on this same topic last week, only I talked about the email registration notices that I’m suddenly getting from all over the place. That first email you get can look really authentic, but it didn’t dispute that I owned my domain name. Instead it implied that someone else was trying to take it from me. Yeah, right!

  18. J Lancashire says

    August 2010 this scam is still very much alive, a client has just forwarded an email requesting an EPP key (see below).

    When are the relevent authorities going to stand up and put these people where they belong as they are nothing but fraudsters trying to extract money from people. These people have been playing this game for over eight years, enough is enough.

    > The transfer and renewal of your domain name, *********.com, is not
    > yet complete because your domain name is currently in a
    > “REGISTRAR-LOCK” status with your current registrar TUCOWS INC.
    >
    > In order to complete the transfer and renewal, the “REGISTRAR-LOCK”
    > status needs to be removed and an EPP Key/Authorization code needs to
    > be obtained. Please see below for instructions on achieving this.
    >
    > Solution:
    > – Log into your account with your current registrar, and change the
    > status of your domain, hillsdonpm.com, from “locked” to “active”.
    > – Then look for the EPP Key or Authorization Code.
    >
    > – Alternatively you may call your current registrar, TUCOWS INC. (see
    > phone
    > number below) and ask them to remove the lock status of your domain name,
    > give you your EPP Key and allow the transfer to Domain Registry of
    > America.
    >
    > – Once done please notify us that you have done so, by calling our
    > toll-free
    > number below. We will then re-attempt the transfer and renewal of your
    > domain name.
    >
    > As a convenience, we have supplied your current registrars phone
    > number below.
    >
    > Domain: *********.com
    > Current Registrar: TUCOWS INC.
    > Registrar Phone Number: 800-371-6992 (Toll Free) or 416-535-0123
    > (Local)
    >
    > Transfer Department
    > Domain Registry of America
    > Toll free 1-866-434-0212 or for International Callers, dial
    > +1(905)479-2533
    >
    > 8/6/2010 4:00:42 AM

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