On the Wisdom of Serpents and the Innocence of Doves; or, Scams

I posted this on Facebook, but I thought I’d also post it as a blog post for those who aren’t on Facebook. It’s just as applicable to churches, missionaries, and other people in ministry as to businesses.

If you own a domain name, please be aware (and beware) of this scam.

Domain name scam

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I received this in the mail today. It’s very official-looking and appears at first glance (or second or third) to be a legitimate request that I renew my domain name. I did not recognize the name of the company, iDNS, but at first I thought perhaps my domain registrar had sold to another company or changed their name or something. I might very easily have filled out the information and sent it in.

Upon closer reading, I realized that this is actually an authorization to transfer my domain name from my own registrar to this other company. I consulted my personal domain professional (i.e. my momĀ Nora McDougall), and she told me that this is actually something of a scam to steal your business from your own registrar. It won’t necessarily steal your domain name from you–it might be a perfectly legitimate domain registrar–but it is using a very clever, very legitimate-looking tactic to steal your business from the company you chose.

If you have a business or a church or any kind of ministry, don’t let your secretary or accountant just blindly pay internet/website/etc. bills. Investigate everything that isn’t coming directly from the companies you have chosen to do business with. If you don’t recognize a business name, find out if your companies have had a name change; if the bill looks different than normal, contact the company and find out if they sent it. If someone purporting to be from a company calls you up or emails you and asks for credit card or bank information or account passwords or payments for something, contact the company yourself and find out if it’s real. Do a tiny bit of googling and find reviews and complaints. Check with the Better Business Bureau. Don’t just do stuff blindly. It’s not good business, and it’s not wise.

Categories: Blog, Geekery, Random Musings Tags: , , , , , .