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There are many domain frauds in which fraudsters use your domain name as bait to deceive you. We list some specific cases of domain name scams as a warning, and provide some tips on how to be on your guard and protect your domain.
One of the forms of domain fraud is the sending of false invoices. The sender is usually a company with a name that invokes trust, such as ‘.be domain hosting’ or ‘.be registrar’. The invoice states that your domain is about to expire and that you have to pay a sum of money.
If you examine the invoice carefully, however, you may notice some elements that should arouse your suspicions, such as a non-existent address of the sender, a website that is incorrect, or the lack of further information about your domain name. The conclusion is simple: if you receive an invoice for the renewal of your domain name from any company other than your own registrar, such as Combell, just throw it straight into the wastepaper basket!
Another rogue practice involves being contacted on the phone by a company – a scam that is often tried on with companies that also have a registered trade name. The telephone caller claims to have been instructed to register a certain domain with the .eu or .com domain extension. And coincidentally, you happen to have the same name but with the .be extension! The company wants to give you first choice for registering this variant, but you will have to register it immediately for 10 years...
Do not do it! The company behind these phone calls is not a regular registrar and it is therefore highly doubtful that your registration will actually be valid for 10 years...
But who knows – that telephone call might get you thinking that perhaps it would not be such a bad idea for you to register your domain name with that other extension. But do it through a reliable registrar, like Combell. If you have several domain names with us, you can manage them centrally from one control panel. Handy!
Check out which extensions are still available for your domain name:
Yet another fraudulent technique in which your domain name plays a big role: the ‘final notice of domain listing’. In this version, you receive an e-mail from which it appears that you have forgotten to pay your domain registration fee. And there is a risk that your domain name will be deleted.
If you look more closely at the e-mail, you will notice that it has nothing to do with your domain registration: it is actually an offer to register your domain name in search engines. With the threat: if you do not take up the offer, search engines will not be able to find you. Which is, of course, sheer nonsense. The proper place for this too is in the (digital) wastepaper basket!
Your domain name may face other dangers. For example, domain hijackers, otherwise known as cybersquatters, are always lying in wait. If you forget to renew your domain, they are ready to register that domain name immediately for themselves. And then sell it on to third parties – or to you yourself, but for a hefty price!
Domain theft is also common practice: a thief may request a domain transfer on your behalf to himself using falsified documents. Or send you an e-mail in which the logo and identity of your real registrar have been cleverly imitated, and which asks you to log in or to pay an invoice. Once in possession of your login details, the crook can carry out all kinds of fraudulent practices.
We are sorry to say that even Combell’s name has been misused in this way – read ‘Fake emails sent out in our name’.
The process of getting back your domain once lost or stolen can be a lengthy and expensive business. And because your domain name is your most precious asset in the digital world, you are often left with no choice but to pay the domain hijackers...
Read also: Oops, have you forgotten to renew your domain name?
Prevention is better than cure. So here are a few tips to avoid being the victim of domain fraud.
Elements in e-mails or invoices that should start alarm bells ringing:
This is how to defend your domain name against fraud or theft:
Tip: For most extensions, Combell allows you to enable free transfer lock in your control panel as an extra protection against people who want to steal your domain name. As long as this lock is enabled, your domain name cannot be transferred.
If you want to transfer your domain name, you will need two things:
Suppose someone manages to intercept the e-mail with your transfer code, for example by accessing your mailbox or by pretending to be a colleague… In that case, there is still something that person will not be able to do in your control panel, meaning your domain name cannot be hijacked.
If you follow these tips, you can relax: it will not be easy for a fraudster to lead you up the garden path and your domain will be safe from hijackers. Do you have any questions or problems, or have you noticed something suspicious? Please contact our employees who will be happy to assist you further!
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