Some unscrupulous companies are running various domain name scams intended to mislead or frighten you into transferring your domain name to them or to register an alternative domain name with them. This document is intended to provide some advice for identifying these domain scams and for reporting them to the relevant authorities.
"Another company is trying to register your name"
The first type of domain scam often involves a company phoning you claiming that someone is trying to register an alternative version of your domain name. They will offer you the chance to register that domain name at a high price to "prevent the other person from taking your domain name". They will often give you a short time limit, maybe only a few minutes, to decide whether you want to register that domain name and prevent someone else from taking it.
The people allegedly about to register the other name rarely, if ever, exist, although there have been instances where the alternative domains have been registered by "the other person". If this happens, it is most likely that the domain scammers are "the other person" and have registered the domain name themselves.
Our advice is not to register any domain names with any company making such claims. If you feel the domain name is important to you, register the domain name online with us or another provider at much lower prices. You may be able to do this even while you discuss matters with the domain scammers.
"Renew your domain name now or lose it!"
Another type of domain scam is where a company sends what appears to be a domain renewal invoice through the post, even though they are not your domain registrar. These "invoices" warn you that you should renew your domain registration with that company or risk losing your domain name. The design and wording of the "invoice" has often been carefully chosen so that it appears to be a renewal invoice, whilst technically and legally it could be classed only as a transfer notice.
Our advice is to only accept domain renewal notices from the company that you registered your domain name with in the first place. If you are in any doubt as to who you should pay for domain renewals, contact your existing domain registrar.
Dealing with domain scammers
We also recommend that you obtain as much information as possible about the domain scammers and report them to the relevant authorities. Ask for their name and address, their website address and any other information you can think of.
If the domain name scammer is UK based, report them to your local Trading Standards office. It may also help to report the incident to your local police as an attempted fraud.
If the domain scammer is outside the UK, especially in the USA or Canada, you can report them to the IFCC, the FTC and many other organisations. Complaints are taken seriously in the USA and Canada and there have been some successful prosecutions.