How To Avoid A Domain Payment Scam!

Don’t Pay Now! How To Avoid A Domain Payment Scam!

Far too often scams get the best of us.  Especially when you receive mail that looks like a real invoice!  This blog will help you to avoid a domain payment scam, show you how to identify a scam, and how to find your actual domain company.

What is a Domain Payment Scam?

Our example is from Domain Listings, a company that sends misleading letters to businesses implying that they need to simply pay their ‘domain bill’. In reality, this is an advertisement to get you to pay a fee to be listed on their business listings website.

Payment scam

domain scam instructions

 

 

This letter was received by an actual client.  As you can see it  looks like a bill with instructions on how to pay online, whom to write a check to and even a spot to write your credit card information! 

 

 

domain scam

 

If you read the sentence in bold between the red lines, you can see that they do state this is not a bill.  As we all know, it is fairly common for most people to not actually read the entirety of a document.  Oftentimes we see a bill, we file it for payment, that’s it.

It is important to scan the entire document for any sign of ‘this is for advertising purposes’ or as this letter states ‘this is not a bill’. In some cases the print may be gray or on the backside of the letter so it is easy to miss.

 

 

Very often the person who receives these letters and emails isn’t the person who purchased the domain or even works on it.  Some business owners have a family member, friend or past employee who set up their domain.  Then when something needs to be worked on or paid, they don’t know what company to login to or have access to the domain. 

 

Let’s start from the beginning. What is a domain?

The difference between domains, hosting and website builders is one of the biggest things that confuses our clients.  

We created this illustration to help you understand  how it all works together.

domain description

 

A domain serves as the address to  your website.

 

Using our website as an example:

www.dk-webdev.com is the domain (address). 

Our domain was purchased through GoDaddy. 

Our domain is hosted on WP Engine (Land). 

We built our Website (home) using WordPress.

Your domain is your address, how people get to your ‘house’. Your website is your virtual house. You need to purchase a domain name first. Our domain was purchased through GoDaddy, which is the most common. But domains can be purchased from other companies as well.

Your hosting is the land you put your house on. 

You are paying to keep your website (house) on it. Our hosting is WP Engine, but there are lots of options out there. Common hosting platforms for our clients are GoDaddy, BlueHost and Network Solutions.

Your website is your house, where you keep all your ‘belongings’ or information about your company. Most of our clients use WordPress. If you are using Wix, Squarespace or something similar, it is possible that the domain, hosting and website is accessible with one login. Other times, separate accounts exist for each.

 

How do I find my domain?

If you yourself didn’t set up the domain and have no idea where to start looking – we can help!

Simply go to whois.com, enter your website address at the top of the screen and click the WHOIS button.

 

Knowledge is power.

It is important that you know what your situation is and how to access each account. A lot of clients will let their developer set up their hosting account or purchase their domain, etc. because they aren’t that technical. We do that for our clients as well. However, we always recommend creating the accounts with our client’s email and contact information so that they retain ownership.

Getting access to a domain or hosting account that is not associated with your contact information can be difficult and sometimes, impossible. If your developer goes out of business or you need to stop the relationship for any reason, not owning these critical components can create a lot of problems.

Are you someone who doesn’t have access or doesn’t know where to start?

Do you think you received a scam and want us to take a look?

Contact us today, we are happy to help.