Domain Renewal Scams: How to Identify and Avoid Them

All businesses get spam and junk mail. These unwanted messages, whether they arrive in our digital or physical mailboxes, are just a standard part of daily operations. They often end up easily ignored or sent to the trash. But there is a certain type of spam we want to call your attention to – domain renewal scams.

Recently at MABU, some of our clients have asked about mail requiring ‘immediate attention’ or ‘urgent action’ regarding a renewal on their domain name before it expires. Scammers often use this ‘authoritative fraud’ tactic to trick individuals into purchasing services they do not need – or giving up their website’s domain entirely!

Usually these letters bolster their authority in specific ways. They might use your name or a co-worker’s name, your business’ name, phone number, or address, your domain provider’s name (like GoDaddy, for example), or other information that seems unique and private to your company.

However, all of this information is actually public for every domain on the Internet, and anyone can use it to trick you into trusting them with your money or website! Do a WHOIS search for your domain and you can see what information is publicly available through your domain.


Domain Renewal Scams: Tips and Warning Signs

We’ve organized some useful strageies to help you recognize domain renewal scams. Follow them to avoid forfeiting hard-earned dollars on unwanted products or services, or worse: losing your website to a scam artist.


the sender’s email or mailing address. Junk messages are sometimes sent from nondescript addresses, misspelled or unusual email addresses, or hijacked accounts that might slip past your spam filters. Being aware of the sender’s information and how it is presented are the first steps in steering clear of domain renewal scams.


that your domain provider will never send you paper mail. All certified domain providers handle renewals through their official website and they send notices via email.


clicking on any links within the body of any email. Hover your cursor above links to see where they go. If the link looks unusual or does not relate to your domain provider, don’t click it! Malicious emails can be loaded with links to viruses or phishing scams which can quickly jeopardize personal information.


a suspicious email’s claims by contacting your domain provider yourself either by phone or through their official website. Don’t use the links or contact info in the suspicious email or letter; look up the proper contact info online for yourself to be sure it is legitimate. Your domain provider will be happy to clear up any concerns you have about your domain or account!


When in doubt, contact your web administrator or manager.