I just got one of those letters from an outfit called iDNS (Internet Domain Name Services). It looks flat-out like a bill (see below – I’ve highlighted the particularly deceptive parts). This is such a shameless, devious scam that there must be a special room in Hell for these people. Here’s the first paragraph:

As a courtesy to domain name holders, we are sending you this notification of the domain name registration that is due to expire in the next few months. When you switch today to IDNS, you can take advantage of our best savings. Your registration for ___ will expire on August 12, 2016. Act today!

Now although it’s true that this does say When you switch today, if you are the average person who gets one of these (like most of my clients), you don’t even know what switching means—it just looks like something you should do. It also says take advantage of our best savings. It turns out their “best savings” for a domain renewal is $45/year. That’s $30 more than any other registrar charges.

Buried in the third paragraph is This notice is not a bill. I know that this gets them off the hook legally, but I also know many people don’t read these things carefully, especially when they are clearly designed to look like a bill, and it says Domain Name Expiration Notice in big, bold type at the top of the page.

I’ve had clients get these and call me in a panic. I wonder how many of them have already fallen for this scam. If you get one of these, throw it away.