I often get emails and calls from our clients asking me about confusing emails and letters that they get. Sometimes they are domain renewal notices other times they are directory listing services that promise better website traffic. Some of these may be genuine but the majority are not, so how do you protect yourself and your business from these spammers and scammers?
Today I want to tell you about a specific example. I got a call from a client asking about a bill they received and asked if we had double billed them. After a few questions, I realized it was not a bill from us, but a company called Web-Listings Inc. After a bit of online sleuthing I found out this company will send the business owner an actual Invoice for domain renewal and web listing services. It is very official looking and if you don’t know any better, well then you just add it to the expense pile. Now, Web Listings Inc claims that they are not scammers, but with 66 complaints on the Better Business Bureaus website, I am not feeling convinced of their innocence. Let me tell you this really irked me, so this blog post was born, I want to make sure you guys don’t get taken advantage of!! If you get something like this in the mail, investigate it and if it is not something that you actively engaged in, then throw it away!
You see, once you buy your domain if you do not opt in for the private registration option then you might be subject to a barrage of “opportunities” and scams like the one I mentioned. To avoid falling prey to these there are three things that you should ABSOLUTELY know.
First of all: Who is your REGISTRAR?
Your registrar is who you have registered your domain name through. Just like registering your car, your domain name registration will have to be renewed at some point as well, usually once a year or once every 2 years. Your Registrar is kind of like the DMV of the internet. Its pretty easy for a scammer to send you an invoice for your domain renewal, and if you don’t know who your registrar is and when your next registration renewal date is you might just give your money away. So make sure you know who your registrar is that way you make sure that you are paying the right people, then put an alert in your phone or calendar for a year or two out so that you know when that renewal is coning up again.
Secondly: Know your HOST!
Your hosting provider or your host is basically your websites landlord. Your website needs some where to live and so your host is the one that provides that home, for rent of course. It is important to know who hosts your website so that if there is an issue with your website you know who to call. Also if you get an email about malware or your website being hacked, the first person that you want to contact is your host. They should be able to scan your site and check to see if anything is wrong. NEVER pay a third-party company that is alerting you of something that is wrong, without checking with your host first!
Finally: Where does your email come from?
Much like where do babies come from, this can be a mystery. Like your website your email also needs a place to live, you should know where that is. One of the main reasons to know this is so that if you have any issues you need to know who to contact. If you don’t know where your email is hosted then you can use this handy tool to find out MX toolbox.
Knowing these three things is the first step to protecting yourself and your business online!