If you own a domain name – something like www.yourdomain.com – your registrant details are a matter of public record, which is where this sneaky con comes in.
Nearing the time you’re next due to update your website registration, (also a matter of public record), you may receive and email like this:
From: Your Website
Subject: Domain Notification: YOUR NAME This is your Final Notice of Domain Listing – YOURDOMAIN.COM
Attention: Important Notice , DOMAIN SERVICE NOTICE
Domain Name: YOURDOMAIN.COM
Domain Owner YOUR NAME
STREET ADDRESS OF ADMINISTRATIVE CONTACT
Requested Reply Before
PART I: REVIEW SOLICITATION
Attn: Domain Owner YOUR NAME
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 and save.
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 subscription includes domain name search engine submission.
You are under no obligation to pay the amounts stated below unless you accept this offer. 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: WWW.YOURDOMAIN.COM will expire on April 18, 2017 Act today!
[ ] 1 year 04/18/2017 - 04/18/2018 $75.00
[ ] 2 year 04/18/2017 - 04/18/2019 $119.00
[ ] 5 year 04/18/2017 - 04/18/2022 $199.00
[ ] 10 year -Most Recommended- 04/18/2017 - 04/18/2027 $295.00
[ ] Lifetime (NEW!) Limited time offer - Best value! Lifetime $499.00
Payment by Credit Card or Check
Call our New York main office: (716)805-3253
If you read it closely, you’ll see that they’re asking you to register for “Domain name search engine registration”, an utterly meaningless “service”. Search engines like Google search the entire web. Automatically. For free!
The real gotcha comes after some dotted lines at the bottom of the email in what looks like standard legal boilerplate. I’ve highlighted the bits you may have overlooked:
By accepting this offer, you agree not to hold DS liable for any part. Note that THIS IS NOT A BILL. This is a solicitation. You are under no obligation to pay the amounts stated unless you accept this offer. The information in this letter contains confidential and/or legally privileged information from the notification processing department of the DS 3501 Jack Northrop Ave. Suite #F9238 Hawthorne, CA 90250 USA, This information is intended only for the use of the individual(s) named above. There is no pre-existing relationship between DS and the domain mentioned above. This notice is not in any part associated with a continuation of services for domain registration. Search engine submission is an optional service that you can use as a part of your website optimization and alone may not increase the traffic to your site. If you do not wish to receive further updates from DS reply with Remove to unsubscribe. If you are not the intended recipient, you are hereby notified that disclosur
In short, the whole thing is a con. From a bunch of scumbags trying to make a fast buck out of the busy or unwary. Avoid!!