Quick Tips to Identify the Latest Scams Targeting Website Owners
Updated Monday, June 21, 2021
Scams Targeting Website Owners: Website Domain Renewals
This post 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
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.
A teammate recently reported an email that looked legit, but as it turned out…not. She mentioned:
I have to admit that for a second I was trying to figure out why I would’ve charged something like this to one of my accounts since it’s not mine. Then I realized the email was one big image. And then looked at the sender’s email. I wish there were stats on how many people would call this number and give them their credit card for example. These things have to be worth it for scammers, or we wouldn’t get them all. the. flipping. time.
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 pretending 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:
- 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?
- Report the scam to one or more agencies.
- Report the scam to the business they’re impersonating.
- Report the scam through your state’s attorney general website.
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…