How to Spot and Protect Your Business From a Domain Listings Scam3 min read
A recent phishing scam has been finding its way into more and more inboxes — especially those of small business owners. Emails from a legitimate-sounding company called “Domain Listings” are notifying people that their company website or domain needs to be re-registered and relisted. These alerts sound fairly reasonable at first, but they’re flat-out scams.
The technique is meant to take advantage of business owners trying to stay on top of the game when it comes to their internet and SEO presence. Domain Listings offers to make sure your website continues to work and show up on Google search engine result pages with high SEO rankings — for a price.
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What Is a Domain Listings Scam?
A fraudulent company calling itself Domain Listings is preying on business owners, especially those running small to mid-sized businesses. The people behind it use emails to lead business owners to believe they need to pay a fee to keep their business listed on big search engines such as Google or to renew their domain hosting and name.
This type of scam can be extremely detrimental, both financially and for your business’s reputation. It can be particularly harmful for mom-and-pop shops whose owners might not be that internet savvy.
Domain Listings sends a fake invoice via email. The message prompts business owners to fill out the invoice with their credit card and banking information, as well as other personal identifiable information (PII). The fraudsters then use this PII to exploit you and your business.
A couple hundred dollars might not seem like a lot to some people, but for small local businesses, every dollar counts. That money, plus the downtime it can take to get a scam like this under control, can be costly.
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How to Spot a Domain Listings Scam
A Domain Listings scam can often look extremely credible, so you should know what to look for. Besides receiving an email from the fake company “Domain Listings,” here are some other signs that will tip you off that you’re being scammed.
Website domains shouldn’t cost more than $50 a year. If someone is asking you for a strange amount of money, whether it’s a lot more or a lot less, you should look further into where this email comes from.
Identifiable Wording and Poor Grammar
One way to identify phishing scams is through the wording of the invoice. The grammar might be bad, and certain words might be spelled wrong.
In addition to those key factors, common phrases that tend to be in these scams include the following:
- “Website listing service”
- “Domain name expiration notice”
- “This is not a bill, this is a solicitation”
Company Name With a Red Flag
Dive deep into who exactly sent the email. Look into who sent you this questionable invoice, and use Google to search for the company name. If it doesn’t show up as a verifiable service, chances are it’s a scam. A little research can go a long way in not getting taken advantage of.
Furthermore, if you’re unsure of the name’s credibility after Googling it, you can check reviews to see whether any scam warnings exist.
The last thing you want to do is send your hard-earned money to a fake and predatory “business.” Be cautious if you ever receive an email invoice about your website hosting or domain name.
[Related: Why and How You’re Getting Hacked]
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