Quick Tips to Identify the Latest Scams Targeting Website Owners

Scams Targeting Website Owners: Website Domain Renewals

This week’s tip is about the latest scams targeting website owners. As if we don’t have enough to worry about, right?!

Scammers are getting REALLY GOOD at making things look legit. Lately, we’re seeing an uptick in domain renewal phishing scams coming in through contact forms and email. Though, you can receive similar scams via text and snail mail, too.

False Billing Scams

spam domain expiration

False billing scams request you or your business to pay fake invoices for directory listings, advertising, domain name renewals, or office supplies that you did not order.
So what’s the best way to spot a fake? What do you do about it? 

Receive a notice via email, text, or through your website’s contact form?

  • First and foremost – CLICK NOTHING.
  • Do not forward the email or reply to it.
  • Take a screenshot of the notice to save in case you want to report it.
  • For text messages, don’t reply and block the number. (Sometimes scammers wait for any reply to see if it’s a real number.)

If you have an urge to click or download anything, do anything but that. Do some yoga, eat a donut, tell your doggo a story, pick your nose, whatever floats your boat, but do NOT click anything.

Remember, if you owe your domain registrar money – they will NEVER contact you through your website’s contact form. If you get an email about a domain renewal – it will always come from an email that comes from your domain provider’s website.

Also, they won’t text you about billing unless you’ve willingly opted in. Still, you’d only get a general, polite reminder to sign into your account – never a link to pay for something.

If you’ve received a domain renewal notice, log-in to your domain registrar and find out if you’re up for renewal, look up the records, or ask your friendly web maintenance or marketing provider to find out for you.

How to tell it’s a fake:

  • The from email address, isn’t the same email if you were to reply.
  • The domain in the email address might look really close to the company they’re fake domain emailpretending to be. For example, if the scammer is pretending to be GoDaddy it might look something like billing @ godaddy.domains.
  • You will just feel it in your gut that something isn’t quite right.
  • The email seems to be SHOUTING AT YOU IN ALL CAPS.
  • There is an attachment of any kind, and the document name looks like a cat just did a jig all over your keyboard, like “kjahdjkff98u89asdfj&*^$hasdfasdf.zip”
  • The email or text is asking you to click something to send money.

Receive a piece of snail mail?

  • Take a picture of it, in case you want to report it.
  • Throw it out.
  • If there is any personally identifying information on the notice, shred it. Then throw it out.

How to tell it’s a fake:

fake domain listing letter

  • You’ve never heard of the company before in your life.
  • Items marked as “URGENT”, “FINAL NOTICE” or “PAY IMMEDIATELY” are tactics that scammers often use to intimidate.
  • Head to Google, and search for the company name.
  • If it’s from a familiar company name like Amazon, USPS, or something similar – go to

    their website (not any website listed on the letter) and call their customer service number to find out if it’s legit.

Best way to combat these pesky scams?

Has anyone out there sent something in return, like an envelope that explodes glitter or a box containing only some old sardines? Asking for a friend…

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