Today, a client received what looks like an invoice from Domain Name Corp. They immediately sent me an email asking if I knew anything about it.
Only a month ago did another client receive the same document. That incident resulted in some angry emails to various domain registrants, none of which had anything to do with the document.
On first glance, everything looks completely legitimate. It looks like a real invoice, looks very professional and has various contact information. Even their website looks really good. For all I know they could be a legitimate company, but this practice definitely is not.
With everything looking so “right”, there must be a lot of businesses that fall for this trick.
The first thing that gave it away was the “.com” rather than my clients “.com.au” address. From there, I noticed the “Domain Name Available” and “This is an invitation to register” section further down.
And there it is.
They must have seen that this client owned a .com.au but not the corresponding .com, scraped their address from the ABN registry and sent out this letter.
There’s also the fact that 2 years domain rego should be about $40, yet this is for $249.
They can probably get away with it because even though it looks like one, there is no mention of the word invoice anywhere on the document. Anyone with a business receives invoices for domains and web hosting from time to time. And in my experience, many of them do not know who their hosting company is.
This DNC group must operate on the assumption that some business owners would be so used to this and just pay what they think is a regular invoice.
If you get one, there is only one thing you need to do with it – chuck it right in the bin.
UPDATE 27/05/16: I’ve sent off an email to the serviced offices which these guys are using as their registered address. We’ll see what comes back…
UPDATE 30/05/16: As suggested by don in the comments, please report this to ScamWatch.
These are the settings I would use:
What type of scam: False billing
How were you contacted: Mail
When were you first contacted: Date the mail arrived
What losses did you suffer: Not applicable (unless you have already paid, select Financial)
Company Details: Copied from invoice
Briefly describe the scam: Domain Name Corp sent a document that is clearly intended to look like a traditional bill or invoice. On closer inspection the bill is to register a new domain. I have never dealt with them before, and this mail was completely unsolicited. The price shown is $249 for two years, 10 times the normal domain registration cost. This document looks very much like a typical invoice, likely aimed at deceiving people who don’t understand domain names.
Optional: Link them to this post so they can see that lots of people are receiving this.
And finally, attach an image of your fake invoice