Firstly, what is a Scam? Merriam-Webster (Scams) has it as ‘a fraudulent or deceptive act or operation’, and the Domain Registry of America is certainly being deceptive with its marketing activities. Domain Slamming is another term used for these marketing practices.

As a service to our clients, KP Direction provides domain registration facilities. We know that our clients have many more important things to do than play with technical issues, so we handle as little or as much of the clients DNS and Domain information as they wish. We handle all the client invoicing in-house, so we were surprised this week when two separate clients contacted us regarding their domain renewals through the Domain Registry of America

On reading this letter closely, it’s actually a request for the user to switch their domain away from KP Direction and to the Domain Registry of America. The text of the letter stresses how urgent it is to do this before your domain expires (‘Act today!’), so that the reader will process the ‘invoice’ immediately, without contacting their technical support people. The letters usually come out between three and five months before the domain renewal is due – in order to beat real renewal invoices, which are usually three months before.

How to handle these letters

Know your Domains

You should always know where your domains are registered and hosted, and have access to any usernames and passwords required to make changes. At KP Direction we notify all clients of this information, and keep a secure copy of this record in-house – available on request, in case the client loses it!

Use a Purchase Ordering System

If you purchase something which will result in an invoice coming your way, keep a record (Excel is fine for starters) showing the item, a unique reference, and the amount. Give the unique reference to the supplier as a ‘Purchase Order Number’, and if they do not specify the PO Number on the invoice they send, you can then query the invoice in-depth – if the number matches, it can be paid immediately. Companies like Domain Slammers never contact you in advance for this information, so will never have valid PO Numbers for you.

If you have requested KP Direction to handle domain renewals on your behalf, the invoice will come from KP Direction, and will have a PO Number on if you supply us with it. If you see a suspicious invoice, clients are welcome to contact us for further directions – which may involve a circular filing cabinet (the bin!).

Don’t Pay!

Never – EVER – send any payment until you are sure it’s a valid invoice. In the case of the Domain Registry of America, all fees are final. If the transfer is declined, or doesn’t complete for ANY reason, you won’t get a refund. Note that KP Direction has Domain Locking switched on by default for all .com and .org domains, and this is one reason why a transfer would fail.

If you are ever in any doubt, search the internet. Scams can often be identified by checking out Google and/or Snopes with the company name.

KP Direction prides itself on giving clients ‘Best Advice’. If you ever need to move hosting or domain registration away from KP Direction, we will unlock the domain and provide all the help required, and standard transfers away are free. We will, however, validate that the company you are transferring to is not a domain slammer, and that you are transferring the domain in full knowledge of any technical implications that may occur (loss of email, website, etc). If in doubt, call us!