It is very important to be aware of domain name renewal scams in Australia.
Australian website domain names are registered with accredited domain name registrars and resellers, and must be renewed every two years. Unlike International domain names, all registrars and resellers of .au domains in Australia are accredited through the industry self-regulatory body .au Domain Administrator (auDA). They also require an ABN to confirm an Australian business takes possession of each .com.au registered.
Domain name renewal scams can work in a variety of ways. An invoice requesting payment for a domain name that is very similar to the current domain name (but not exact) where the scammer hopes you don’t notice it is a “.net.au” or a slight variation on the name you actually own. These invoices are often passed straight on for payment without realising it’s not the right name. It may even be for a domain name in another country, such as ‘.com’ where no regulation is in place.
Alternatively you could be sent a letter that looks like a renewal notice for your actual domain name, but it is from a different company to the one you have previously used to register your domain name. Payment does not mean your renewal extends as they don’t actually have control of the domain name in order to extend the registration for another 2 years. In the past some of these scamming companies have been fully registered Australian businesses and for all intensive purposes look official.
Another common scam has the sender claiming that another company is seeking to register the same domain name, but they are giving you the brief opportunity to secure the name first. You will be told your chance to use the domain name will end if you do not pay immediately. Many fear the loss of anything connected to their company name and register in haste without realising the ownership does not belong to them, and if it does, they have paid an incredibly inflated rate for the domain name.
To ensure you do not get caught by scammers here are a few tips:
- If you are unsure if it is your real renewal simply contact the company you last renewed with and make sure the renewal came from them (If you have forgotten who it was, you can see who you are registered with via a simple “whois” look-up)
- Keep a record of when your renewal is due – typically renewal notices are sent approximately 3 months from renewal date
- Double check the website name and the extensions are correct
- Use a registrar that offers automatic renewal – just remember to keep your credit card details current although if they do expire the renewal notice will prompt updating details rather than a generic domain renewal
At Shell Graphix we offer website design and development, hosting and domain name registration and management so clients have convenient one-stop solution. They also have the peace of mind knowing that if a renewal is due or has been overlooked they will get a personal follow-up to ensure it is intentional. Our domain name fees for 2 years are $49.95 for .com.au names and $39.95 for .com names.