One of things I do to help prevent Domain Scammers from preying on the people we host is register the domains under FamilyNet International, and use my name, email, mailing address and phone number as a contact,
The domains are the property of the ministry, and they are available for the ministry we are hosting to take and move to any hosting provider at any time, but we provide a “proxy” hosting service at no cost (this can cost several dollars extra per year depending on your hosting provider, although some include it free).
When I register a new domain, I am normally inundated with phone calls for Website development, SEO optimization (guaranteeing first page placement) and custom graphics companies. Then the emails start, offering graphics, website development, SEO, and a myriad of other services.
Finally the domain scammers come out of the woodwork. The domain scammers USUALLY send an officially looking email or letter via the US Mail indicating something is about to expire. Sometimes it is the SEO service (which was never purchased in the first place) . Sometimes it is a search engine listing (also never purchased). If you read the fine print on the bottom of the solicitation it MIGHT tell you that it is a sales pitch. Sometimes they do disclose that. Sometimes no. Then there are the domain scammers that send the correspondence that tell you the domain itself is at risk for expiring. They usually do this months ahead of its expiration time. The price to renew is usually very expensive. Again, the solicitation may or may not come with a disclaimer. I wrote an article about this back in 2016 (click here). The domain scammer in 2016 indicated that you were agreeing to a domain transfer. 1 year would have cost $45. (normal cost is around $10-12).
I received and email today which is much more dangerous. The graphic at the top of the page indicates there is an overdue payment and that the service will be suspended on September 1. BethelKJV.com does not expire until April of 2019! Our renewal would cost $8.99. The domain scammer is asking for $85! If a Pastor received something like this it could really freak him out! I had a Pastor actually pay one of these in the past. Hence I started keeping all the information in my name to protect the ministries we are hosting. This particular domain is one of the rescued domains on top of everything else!
Sometimes these domain scammers will actually go to the website and get the address of the ministry and mail a bill to the ministry vi US mail or email. Can’t prevent that from happening. I do, however, recommend the use of a contact form instead of posting your email address on the website!
Today I clicked on the scammer’s link and was brought to a website. It was a professional website. It had a Los Angeles address. I went into a live chat session. I asked them why I should report them to the Texas Attorney General’s Office for Internet Fraud. It’s funny, I never did get a rep engage me. I did a whois search on the domain where the website was hosted and found out it was a Chinese company. When I couldn’t get a person to come back to me a sent them a link to one of our Chinese Bible Tracts online.