Think you are smart enough to not get scammed? Well think again. There is a scam going around Australia targeting unsuspecting business owners. Of the two people that I know who received this letter, both were ready to pay it.
So what exactly is this Domain Name Scam?
I use the scam loosely, because you do actually get something out of it. The only thing is, you are paying a highly inflated price of $249 / year for a service you should pay no more than $50 / year. Most people will think they need to pay for it because it looks like a bill, but in actual fact you should NOT pay it.
Take a look at the below Australian Domain Name Scam, which is a letter from Domain Name Corp that is posted out to owners who may have recently registered a .com.au domain name.
At first look, this looks like a legitimate letter for a service that you currently have, for which you need to pay. It is sent from, what sounds like an official industry body, Domain Name Corp.
What makes this scam very clever is that it is targeted to you, as it contains your Business Name, as well as being addressed to you and it also has the .com version of your Australian Domain Name.
How Does This Scam Work?
I am not entirely sure where they get a list of domain names or your exact contact information from, however, you can get a list of recently expired domain names from auDA, but this scam essential works the following way:
Domain Name Corp…
- Finds a registered .com.au
- Check to see if a .com or another variant has been registered
- If not, find address of owner (Most likely from the .com.au website itself, Google, ABR, Dunn & Bradstreet)
- Sends letter and hope you pay.
You get scammed by…
- Opening the letter address to your organisation
- Reading that the total amount is $249
- Paying the $249 to register a new domain name because you think you need to
They are professional
If you do a Google Search on Domain Name Corp or visit their website, you will instantly believe that it is a professional and trusted organisation. I have to admit myself, their website does look pretty good, complete with Addresses, ABN Numbers and phone numbers.
If you do a search on their ABN number 96 608 862 255, it shows that the company was first registered in New South Wales on 23rd October 2015, so they haven’t been running too long… until you do some further investigations such as below.
In 2007, a company called Domain Register Pty Ltd was formed in Western Australia. In April 2013, domain name register, Net Registry warmed its user base of a scam. The scammers also went off the name “NetRegister” which is very close to the trusted “NetRegistry” brand name. The layout of the letter looks very similar to Domain Name Corp, as well as having the exact same price and includes the exact same services. All I can assume is that the same person behind Domain Name Corp was behind DomainRegister.
Take away lesson
Be very, very careful of well devised scams like Domain Name Corp. Because the wholesale fee for .au domain names are only $19.25, Domain Name Corp are charging $249! Although, most registers charge around $25 for .au domain name registrations, some can be up to $99.
If you have received this letter from Domain Name Corp, DO NOT PAY IT!
A cheesy video by Consumer Victoria in regards to online Domain Name Scams says:
- Check the bill carefully before paying
- Double Check that the domain is actually yours
- Check the company that is sending the invoice is the one you registered your original domain name with