Beware Of Domain Name Scams

As a municipality, it’s important to keep yourself safe from domain name scams.
As a municipality, it’s important to keep yourself safe from domain name scams.

As with anything online, when it comes to registering a domain name, it’s important to remain diligent and aware of scams to protect yourself from falling victim to them.

One such scam is known as the domain name scam. With a domain name scam, companies who resell domains at exorbitant prices contact you –unsolicited, in an attempt to have you renew your domain through them.

The catch is that these emails usually arrive around the same time that your website domain is about to expire –making it easy to be caught off guard. While the emails are correct in that it’s true that you have to renew your domain, they’re wrong to imply that you have to renew the domain through them. The prices that these companies charge are marked up –and significantly inflated.

An example of a domain renewal invoice (scam).
An example of a domain renewal invoice (scam).
Example of domain renewal invoice –a scam.
Example of domain renewal invoice –a scam.

Sometimes it can be difficult to determine the difference between legitimate and scam invoices. After all, many of these invoices are legit in that they will renew your domain for you; however it’s important to remember that renewing through these companies will cost you significantly more than it should. In the above invoice, this company is charging five times more for the domain renewal!

If you happen to receive one of these emails, don’t reply; instead, simply file the email to the trash bin! If you have received an email advising you to renew your domain, and have any questions regarding the domain renewal process send us an email at [email protected] and let us help you determine the legitimacy of the invoice.

Managing a Municipality’s Domain Name

Because of this common problem, TownWeb registers domain names on our customers’ behalf. For more details about why we register your municipality’s domain name in our account with our registrar, see Why TownWeb Manages Domain Names.

In most cases, we will reserve the domain name on behalf of your town in our company’s name and then transfer the domain name into your preferred register.

In addition to handling the spam domain renewal emails, here are some more reasons why we prefer to do it this way.

  • No Expiration

When customers choose to buy their own domain –problems arise. One such issue is domain expiration. In the event that the credit card that was used to purchase the domain expires, the domain will become inactive the evening of the expiration date, and the website will go offline. But when TownWeb purchases the domain name, we keep on top of the renewal, so that there will be no offline time. Our renewals fees are affordable –$15 per year, which is competitive to registers like GoDaddy.

  • Management

At TownWeb, when we are able to purchase the domain it makes the management process easier. This allows us to make changes efficiently, allowing us to quickly log in and make changes or edits with ease. If you have a third party software or email vendor who needs access to set-up spam filtering or special connections, adding them can be simple, and since we provide free technical support at TownWeb–all you have to do is send us an email and we will set this up for you.

  • Easy Ownership Transfer

Although the domain name is registered under the name of TownWeb, the domain still belongs to your municipality. Should you choose to leave TownWeb and go with another provider; the domain will go with you. We would simply unlock the domain, email you the authorization code, and you can easily move the domain to whatever register you choose. We would also provide you with zone record files for your domain name so the new host will have all the details of how your domain name was set up behind the scenes.

  • Other Options

If you already have an IT staff in-house, or have contract service with an IT person who already provides help and assistance then there is no reason why you can’t have them manage the domain name. Just keep in mind that this option does require communication between both sides in order to work.

TownWeb has been in business since 2007 and has provided and managed web design and hosting services for over three hundred and fifty municipalities. Contact us if you have any questions about domains or website management, we would be happy to answer any questions you have.

Visit TownWeb today to learn more about web design for small and medium-sized municipalities.

Image: Thomas Heylen

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