Domain Name Registration Scams
Here's a really sleazy attempt to con people using the information available
from the public domain name registrars. If you own a website, and
particular, a domain name, you will probably soon receive an email that looks
like the one below. We've substituted generic phrases in purple for the
names you'll see, but other than that, this is what you will see.
Here's how their scam works: The owner of a domain name receives an
email like the one below, that looks almost exactly like a bill to register the
domain name. The subject of the email "This is your final notice of domain
listing" clearly implies that your domain registration has expired and you are
about to lose your domain name.
The email looks very much like a bill or invoice. They claim to offer
you renewals, at horrific prices; $75/year (the current price from
www.godaddy.com, by comparison, is
You can report them here:
Standards Canada (ASC)
Address: 175 Bloor Street East, Suite 1801,
Toronto, ON M4W 3R8
Telephone: +1 416 961 6311
Fax: (1 416) 961 7904
Main Contact: Ms. Linda J. NAGEL
Other Languages Spoken: English
And for their violation of the CAN-SPAM act:
To file a
complaint or to get
free information on consumer issues, visit
www.ftc.gov or call toll-free, 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357); TTY:
1-866-653-4261. The FTC enters Internet, telemarketing, identity theft, and
other fraud-related complaints into
Consumer Sentinel, a secure, online database available to hundreds of civil
and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad.
The FTC advises consumers to protect themselves by:
- Avoiding any domain name pre-registration service that guarantees
particular top level domain names or preferential treatment in the
assignment of new top level domain names.
- Avoiding doing business with people who send unsolicited faxes -
regardless of the offer. Unsolicited faxes are illegal.
- Staying on top of the news about top level domain names at the ICANN
We can add to that:
- Stick to well known, larger domain registrars (like Godaddy.com,
1and!.com, etc.). They have the best rates (usually) anyway.
- Once you have registered your domain name, return to the same registrar
for renewals and any changes.
- If you want to change domain registrars, do so through the process
established, by starting at your current registrar.
Here is what the scam email looks like: (you
can see another version from a Canadian address, here and
a version from a New York address,
calling itself "Domain Solutions Central")-----Original Message-----
From: Domain Services [mailto: firstname.lastname@example.org ]
Sent: Monday, March 13, 2006 5:29 PM
Subject: Domain Notification: Yourname
This is your Final Notice of Domain Listing!.
DOMAlN LlSTING CENTER
Yonge St. Suite# 149
ThornhiIl, ON L3T 2C6
(Please make necessary changes)
Your email address
Your mailing address
SEARCH ENGlNE SUBMISSlON
FROM MAY 1,2006 THRU MAY 1,2007
- Custom keyword research
- Optimized titIe and meta
- Submission to 900 search
engines and directories
- safe follow-up
re-submissions every 3 months
- HelpfuI professional
THIS IS NOT A BlLL. This is a
solicitation. You are under no obIigation to pay the
amount(s) stated unless you accept this offer.
THIS NOTICE IS A SOLICITATION AND A
RECEIPT OF PAYMENT WILL CONFIRM YOUR ANNUAL SUBMISSION
*100% SATISFACTION IS GUARANTEED OR YOUR MONEY BACK
Please select the number of years you would like to
[ ] 1 Year .......... $75
[ ] 2 Years .......... $85
[ ] 5 Years .......... $185
[ ] 10 Years .......... $295 (Best
Value, Most Recommended)
Total $ _______
Payment by Check or Money Order
Print and mail a copy of this order form
along with a check or money order to the address
Domain Listing Center Inc.
8171 Yonge St. Suite# 149
Thornhill, ON L3T 2C6
If you are unable to pay by check, please
fill out the section below and mail or fax this
form to (718) 208-4213
this offer, you agree not to hold DLC liable for any part.
Note that THIS IS NOT A BILL. This is a solicitation. You
are under no obIigation to pay the amounts stated unless you
accept this offer. The
information in this letter contains confidential and/or
legally privileged information from the notification
processing department of the Domain Listing Center Inc. This
information is intended only for the use of the individual(s)
named above. Email email@example.com if you do
not want to receive further updates from DLC. If you are not
the intended recipient, you are hereby notified that
disclosure, copying, distribution or the taking of any
action in reliance on the contents for this letter is
* 100% satisfaction guaranteed, you
may request a refund within 30 days if your are not
satisfied with our services.
Other scam names in use are Siteleader.com - a visitor wrote CFR on 3/26/2007
to report that they are asking for money to renew the Domain Name Registration
for his website. This may well be a scammer completely unrelated to the real
company named Siteleader.com that does domain registrations. That company is a
small Wilmette, Ill.-based domain name and hosting company (Raul Herediais named
as Site Leader Inc.'s vice president). Siteleader.com is not without it's own
controversies, since they charged for "pre-registration reservations" which is
not the same thing as actually registering your domain name. Note that the FTC
says that paid-for pre-registrations are a scam. See this
consumer alert where the commission warns consumers against registrars that
promise preferential treatment in the registration process in exchange for a
fee, since the reservations won't necessarily ensure an actual registration.
See this Wired.com article for more information. To see
other discussion and complaints about Siteleader.com, see this page.
UPDATE November 7, 2007:
It appears as though Siteleader.com has gone out of business. Gee, what a
Other Domain Registration Scams
"Domain Registry of America" (also called
"Domain Registry of Canada")
This "company" is targeting domain name owners to
transfer their domains by renewal. They are a reseller who use the following
ICANN accredited registrars:
- eNom Inc. (eNom.com)
- Brandon Gray Internet Services, Inc. (NameJuice.com)
They obtain your contact information through the publicly accessible WHOIS
database, and send renewal notices through regular postal mail in an envelope
and on stationary that is intentionally designed to look like an official
Do not make any payments to "Domain Registry of Canada"/"Domain Registry of
America" in order to renew your domain. Just renew your domain, when necessary,
with the registrar you initially used! You can always transfer your domain to
another company at any time, if you so choose!
If you have already made a payment to this company, we suggest contacting
your bank or credit card company and ask for the payment to be stopped or
" Domain Registry of America" have already had a court injunction against them
with regard to domain name reselling. For more information, please read these
"EU Registry Services" - Cambridge
"EU Registry Services" is sending out letters in
the postal mail regarding domain names with upcoming renewals. The letters are
entitled "DOMAIN EXPIRATION NOTICE" and are blatantly misleading, urgently
requesting domain owners to "renew immediately to ensure service continues
The letter has a tear-off slip at the bottom
for you to detach and send with your check. Under no circumstances should you
send any payment to these people. This is a blatant scam.
"EU Registry Services" has already received attention from the Advertising
Standards Authority regarding a misleading claim over .eu domains:
What should you do?
Should you receive ANY unsolicited email or postal notices from ANY
company regarding your domain registration, please:
- Cancel any payment you may have made.
- Tear up the letter and dispose of it (or recycle!).
- Renew your domain with your existing registrar.