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Three domain name scams

Bogus renewals, bogus directories

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Barely a day goes by when Vulture Central doesn't receive an email from readers warning about some domain name scam or other.

Like haemorrhoids, these cons are a pain in the arse. Trouble is, no matter how painful they are, they're a part of Net life.

So, here's El Reg's guide to the top three domain name scams - just so as you know.

1 The Good eSamaritan (Scam 'A')

A punter gets a phone call from a domain name company warning them that someone is sniffing around looking to snap up their domain. The phone conversation goes something like this ...

Cold Caller: Ah yes, hi there, sorry to trouble you but I was just calling to let you know that someone was trying to register your domain whateveritisdotcom. We thought we'd let you know just in case you wanted to buy it yourself. After all, there are some very dodgy people out there on the Net - some real crooks (nervous laughter). Cybersquatters, con artists, don't you know. Terrible people. Anyway, just wanted to let you know that this was on the cards. When we found out we thought it was only right that we let you know, you know, just in case. Of course, I suppose if you wanted the domain before it was snapped up I could try and register it now for you ...

Punter: Oh that's terrible. If we'd lost this domain my boss would have killed me. Gosh, thank you so much for letting me know. That's so kind. What a blessing you called. I'd have really landed in the doo-doo if you hadn't called. This must really be my lucky day. You've really saved my bacon. How would we have managed without ...(reaches for credit card)

2 The Good eSamaritan (Scam 'B')

A punter gets a phone call from a domain name company warning them that their domain is up for renewal, and unless they cough up for it now they could lose it, and their Web site, and their email, and the sun might not even rise the next day either…

Cold Caller: Ah yes, hi there, sorry to trouble you but I was just calling you to let you know that your domain name registration is about to expire. Trouble is, if you don't hurry up and renew it you'll lose it and that will be that. No Web site, no email, no nothing. You're lucky, I came upon this by accident but thought it was only right I should let you know. I'd hate for your site to disappear just because of some administrative oversight. After all, we're only human. Anyway, I don't usually do this but like I said, I noticed your site was up for renewal. After all, there are some very dodgy people out there on the Net - some real crooks (nervous laugh). Cybersquatters, con artists, don't you know. Terrible people. Anyway, just wanted to let you know that this was about to happen. Of course, I suppose if you wanted the domain before it runs out I could try and register it now for you...

Punter: Oh that's terrible. If we'd lost this domain my boss would have killed me. Gosh, thank you so much for letting me know. That's so kind. What a blessing you called. I'd have really landed in the doo-doo if you hadn't called, etc (reaches for credit card)

3 The Directory Sting

This is a new take on the fax directory sting in which punters are sent bogus invoices worded in such a way that makes people think that unless they cough up the cash, they will lose their domain. In fact, the invoice is a charge to be included in a Web directory, not the registration of their domain.

Advice

The advice from the experts is treat all such demands - either written or by phone - with caution. If unsure, contact your ISP for clarification. ®

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Beware of 'bogus' Web site renewal invoices
Beware the bogus domain sellers

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