With so many scams out there, it’s incumbent on you, as the consumer, to be fully aware of the risks they pose and to be suspicious of any “important” offers you receive, whether by phone, traditional mail or e-mail.

For example, I recently received a phone call from “Social Security” suggesting that my Social Security number had been compromised, and saying that failure on my part to call them to rectify the situation would lead to my arrest.

Well, the first clue that the call was illegitimate was the caller’s strong foreign accent: I highly doubt the Social Security Administration outsources its customer service to India. Even if they do, they publicly state that they won’t call and ask for personal information. The second clue was the threat of arrest, which is not the best way to win friends and influence people. The biggest clue though, is when I (politely) engaged the caller, refused to answer his questions, and was hastily cursed out (with quite graphic language) before the caller hung up. Again, that’s just one example.

In this blog post I want to provide three examples of domain name scams you should know about and watch out for. We’ve received numerous calls from clients who have received such mailers and don’t know if they are legitimate. The answer is no, they are not legitimate!

If you are ever in doubt about the legitimacy of anything related to your domain name, website, Google listing or anything else, please feel free to give us a call. We love to answer your questions and provide advice. Keep in mind that these can come via “snail mail” (the post office) or via e-mail.  You might also get phone calls making the same or similar offers.

In each of these cases, we or a client received a mailer that looked very much like an invoice. Of course, the sender’s hope is that the recipient will thoughtlessly send a check, lining their pocket with cash while providing nothing of value in return.

I’ve shared these examples, with some annotations and with the identifying information about our client (like name, address, domain name) blurred out. Although some of these “offers” state clearly within the body of the text that they are solicitations and not bills, there are some things that clearly give these up as scams:

  • In all likelihood, you have never done business with this entity, yet they include words like “renew,” or they suggest there is a deadline by which you must make payment to “keep” or “maintain” your service;
  • They use words like “important,” “deadline,” claim you will lose your domain name or website if you don’t act on their offer;
  • The text of their “offers” is written to look and sound very important, but it is really gibberish.

I’ll say it again: If you are ever in doubt about the legitimacy of anything related to your domain name, website, Google listing or anything else, please feel free to give us a call at 502-545-1588.

Three things to remember:

  • Be wary of anything that looks like an invoice from someone you don’t know.
  • NEVER click on links or open attachments in emails from anyone you don’t know, no matter how official or important they may look. This includes companies you do business with (I recently received one from “Go Daddy” about a domain name I had just purchased on behalf of a client, but the return email address was not “@godaddy.com. That’s a clear indication that the message was illegitimate.
  • When in doubt, call us! 502-545-1588.