Domain name renewal emails, legitimate or not

If you own a domain name, sooner or later you will receive domain renewal notices. Sometimes emails about retaining your spot on search engines will also be sent to you. How do you know if these are legitimate? Read on and we’ll try to explain. Please note, your domain name is a VERY important part of your online identity. You do not want to lose access to your domain name and website.

Here is an example of such an email (this is one I received not long after setting up this site):

Attention: Important Notice , DOMAIN SERVICE NOTICE
Domain Name: xyzulu.hosting

ATT: Brad Baker
xyzulu.hosting
Response Requested By
14 / May. – 2016

PART I: REVIEW NOTICE
Attn: Brad Baker
As a courtesy to domain name holders, we are sending you this notification for your business Domain name search engine registration. This letter is to inform you that it’s time to send in your registration.
Failure to complete your Domain name search engine registration by the expiration date may result in cancellation of this offer making it difficult for your customers to locate you on the web.
Privatization allows the consumer a choice when registering. Search engine registration includes domain name search engine submission. Do not discard, this notice is not an invoice it is a courtesy reminder to register your domain name search engine listing so your customers can locate you on the web.
This Notice for: xyzulu.hosting will expire at 11:59PM EST, 14 – May. – 2016 Act now!

Select Package:
http://{removed domain name}.com/?domain=xyzulu.hosting

Payment by Credit/Debit Card

Select the term using the link above by 14 – May. – 2016
http://xyzulu.hosting

So, how can you tell this is nothing more than an attempt to scam you out of money?

Here are a few “warning bells”:

  • The email is lacking a header/footer from a company you are familiar with and have dealt with before
  • The ‘from’ and ‘reply-to’ email address is not likely from an email account you have ever corresponded with
  • No reputable search engine charges you to list your domain ie Google, Bing, Yahoo etc
  • It’s unlikely your own domain registrar would send you just a single warning email regarding your domain name or hosting

You can take a few more steps to confirm that this is a scam email. Here are some:

  • When did you register your domain? Usually domains are renewed on an annual or 2 year basis. Can you find the original registration email?
  • Who do you usually pay to renew your domain names? Can you get in touch with them to verify things?
  • A reputable domain name registrar or host should not be sending you only a single email on the day your domain expires, you should have had plenty of dealings with them already (usually via email)
  • Read more on these kinds of scams here on the Australian Government Scamwatch site: https://www.scamwatch.gov.au/types-of-scams/buying-or-selling/false-billing
  • Do you know your current domain name registrar and host? (You should, your domain name is a very valuable part of your online identity) Why not contact your domain name registrar if you cannot access your domain name control panel and ask them to assist you. If you are a customer of ours we’ll be more than willing to help and educate you in this regard. For XYZulu domain name and hosting customers our Customer Portal is here: https://my.xyzulu.hosting

If you are still not sure, now is a great time to get in touch with your domain name registrar or host to get access to and double-check your domain name is active and under your control. Once you have access to your domain name, check that your (registrant) email address is up to date. This is the email address renewal notices and reminders are likely to have been sent.

Don’t be caught by a scam like this. Take the time to gather the information you need to be able to access your domain name management panel and protect yourself from giving away your money or potentially having your domain name stolen in the process. While you’re doing this, be sure to also save your login passwords in a password manager. See more about this in our post: Overwhelmed with passwords?
domain names

If you have any other questions on this post, please let us know in the comments. If you are an existing customer who wants to protect their domain names, please contact us to discuss this. We can even help you transfer (for free) and manage all your domains with us, in one place, to make the likelihood of you being scammed even less. Contact us today to find out more specific details.

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