Last time we talked about domain name scams, it was about Domain Renewal Group, this time we received a letter in the post from DomainRegister.
What these companies are doing is not technically illegal, but its a scam in that the domain they are advising you to register or renew is not a domain you previously owned.
This time round, we received two letters from DomainRegister about domains very similar to domains we already own.
- Domain we own: absolutelymelbourne.com.au | DomainRegister: absolutelymelbourne.com
- Domain we own: ripefruit-maternity.com.au | DomainRegister: ripefruit-maternity.com
As you can see, in both cases it is the .com version of an Australian domain (.com.au) we already own.
What we find disturbing is DomainRegister are an Australian company (ACN 127 506 807). In the past, domain name scams have come out of the USA like the Domain Renewal Group.
Entity name: Domain Register Pty Ltd
ABN status: Active from 12 Sep 2007
Entity type: Australian Private Company
Main business location: WA 6008
ScamWatch say there are two similar domain name scams that work like this:
- You might be sent an invoice for a domain name that is very similar to your current domain name – the scammer hopes that you don’t notice the difference and just pay the invoice.
- Alternatively, you could be sent a letter that looks like a renewal notice for your actual domain name, but is from a different company to the one you have previously used to register your domain name.
Back to our case, the invoice was for a whopping $249.00 inc GST. Domain name renewal in Australia is anywhere between $30 and $90.
So, you are not only registering a domain name that you have not previously owned, you are also paying through the nose for it.
Honestly, companies like DomainRegister should take a good look at themselves, specially their staff for deceiving everyday Australians.
So, the warning signs are:
- You receive a letter that looks like an invoice for the registration or renewal of a domain name.
- The domain name listed in the invoice is very similar to your actual domain name, but may have a different ending.
Examples: end in .net.au instead of .com.au, .com instead of com.au, ripefruit-domain.com.au instead of ripefruitdomain.com.au.
- The domain name may be correct, but the letter is not from the company that you previously used to register your domain name.
What to do next?
- Check (and double check) that the domain name listed in the invoice is the same as your actual domain name. If it is the same, also check to make sure that the invoice is from the company that you have previously used to register your domain name.
- Call the company that you registered your domain name with originally
- Check the website address carefully. Scammers often set up fake websites with very similar addresses.
- Make sure you know all the terms and conditions of the offer before agreeing to anything. You may also wish to check if the provider is legitimate with the .au Domain Administrator (auDA).
- If you are happy with your current domain name provider, simply ignore other ‘renewal’ or ‘registration’ letters that you may receive.
- If you want to switch domain name registration providers, make sure you know the full cost, terms and conditions of the offer before agreeing.
If you think you have seen a domain name renewal scam, you can let the authorities know through the report a scam section of SCAMwatch.
- ScamWatch (Australia) – Domain name renewal scams
- Another scam – Domain Renewal Group
- auDA – .au Domain Administration
- Crazy Domains – Breach of Registrar Agreement
- You can check Australian domain name registration details by doing a WHOIS search at www.ausregistry.com.au.
- www.staysmartonline.gov.au – Australian Government web site that says it all.
Monday 23rd December 2013 – 8.30pm (EST)
One of our techies took a rather interesting phone call last night. Mid-way through our Christmas party, one of the office phones rang. As we are normally not here out of business hours, he was curious and picked up the phone. What happened next (on speaker phone) took us all by surprise.
The caller alerted to this article about a Domain Name Scam, and then proceeded to abuse us over the phone.
It appears the caller may have been from DomainRegister and as it would have still been in business hours in W.A. which would explain the late call.
Apparently, we are all d*******s, and s**k a lot of d***s. The caller mentioned legal suits, taking down two other companies along with a bevy of other colourful language, too explicit to show here.
True, the DomainRegister letters may not be technically a scam, but DomainRegister operates in a scamful way. They prey on peoples honest nature and good intentions to protect their domain names.
The warning is clear.. buyer beware! Domain owner beware! Read slowly and carefully. Your registrar will never send you reminders by post. We manage a few thousand domains for customers, and send renewal reminders via our billing system every 2 years by email. Any other email regarding your domain should be regarded with suspicion. Postal letters regarding domain names should placed in the recycling bin.
As it states above, if you believe you are being targeted with a scam, help protect other Australians by reporting it to SCAMwatch.
Not sure? Give us a call, in normal business hours of course.
If DomainRegister believe they are acting honestly and within the law, then give us a call and explain how and why we were sent these letters, which contradict their own T&C..
To protect the privacy of our Clients and their domain names, Domain Register will activate DRP (Domain Register Protection) on accepted domain name registrations, where the postal address, email address, phone & fax numbers will be kept confidential and the DRP information will be used in the publicly available whois. Source: Terms
Why does DomainRegister show a Melbourne address on their web site, when their ABN shows they are in South Perth, Western Australia?
Don’t get us wrong, they are fully entitled to sell and manage domain names but please, not by post.