Domain Registration Scam

The scammers are back out again, now by email.

This time, trying to get us to pay 5 times the regular price, for a domain name we already own, under the misdirection that if we don’t, we’ll loose it’s search engine submission.

Once again, this is a load of *%#!

Firstly, the email address it’s sent to, is the default email for all our hosted domains, at no point was it used to subscribe to any list (as detailed below).  They are not a ‘Search Engine Optimisation Company’, they are scammers.

If you receive any email similar to this, do not click on any links.

———-

ATTENTION: IMPORTANT NOTICE
Domain SEO Service Registration Corp.
Order#: 616860
Date: 12/10/2014
EXPIRATION NOTICE

DOMAIN: ———–
Notification Offer
EXPIRATION DATE: 12/18/2014

Bill To:  ———–
Domain Name: ———–

Registration SEO Period:

Price:$64.00

Term:

———–      01/01/2015 to 01/01/2016        1 Year

SECURE ONLINE PAYMENT

Domain Name: ———–

Attn: ———–

This important expiration notification notifies you about the expiration notice of your domain registration for jasonparlour.net  search engine submission. The information in this expiration notification may contain confidential and/or legally privileged information from the notification processing department of the Domain SEO Service Registration. This information is intended only for the use of the individual(s) named above.
If you fail to complete your domain name registration jasonparlour.net  search engine service by the expiration date, may result in the cancellation of this domain name notification offer notice.
PLEASE CLICK ON
SECURE ONLINE PAYMENT

TO COMPLETE YOUR PAYMENT.
Failure to complete your domain name registration jasonparlour.net  search engine service process may make it difficult for customers to find you on the web.
CLICK UNDERNEATH FOR IMMEDIATE PAYMENT
PROCESS PAYMENT FOR
jasonparlour.net
SECURE ONLINE PAYMENT
ACT IMMEDIATELY

This domain registration for ———– search engine service notification will expire 12/18/2014.

Instructions and Unsubscribe Instructions:

You have received this message because you elected to receive special notification offers. If you no longer wish to receive our notifications, please unsubscribe here or mail us a written request to Domain SEO Service Registration Corp., 5379 Lyons Rd. 452, Coconut Creek, FL 33073. If you have multiple accounts with us, you must opt out for each one individually in order to stop receiving notifications notices. We are a search engine optimization company. We do not directly register or renew domain names. We are selling traffic generator software tools. This message is CAN-SPAM compliant. THIS IS NOT A BILL. THIS IS A NOTIFICATION OFFER. YOU ARE UNDER NO OBLIGATION TO PAY THE AMOUNT STATED UNLESS YOU ACCEPT THIS NOTIFICATION OFFER. Please do not reply to this email, as we are not able to respond to messages sent to this address.

Why you can’t believe what you read in spam!

Had another one passed through today, from a company claiming to offer financial reports of the top 600 companies in that particular business sector, which included the client company they were emailing.

However, although this particular client has a limited company in the trading name, all of their trading actually went through a different company entirely, so the company details listed in the email, who was apparently performing in the top 600 of that industry (totalling tens of thousands across the UK), actually has the equivalent of a dormant company!

Would you think it’d be appropriate to provide money to a company starting off with this false information?

This is why it’s so important to not share your primary email addresses with mailing lists (or anyone who subsequently makes a mailing list out of your details).  Once you’re on the spammer’s list, there’s no escape from junk like the one above (apart from shutting the email address down entirely).

Web Designing – spam email

Although I run Parlour Design, I’m also involved with a number of other businesses too.  One of these businesses has a generic info@ email address (which will get spam, regardless of how well the email address is encrypted on your website).  I’ve advised the client to remove all traces of it, but historically it is still used by some genuine clients.

They’ve ensured that everywhere the email address was published, is now changed, including the main client website.  However, I do also know that this info@ email address appears on a number of spam mailing lists people can buy into.  It was therefore humorous to receive the following email today:

Hi
Hope you are well.
My Name is Joy, and I am a web consultant with a website design/development firm with offices in the US/UK, and development center in India.
I was browsing websites from your domain and came across “www.client-domain-hidden.com“. From what I could notice, your current website does not have an appealing design that visually caters to your client demographic.
One of the great things about the Internet is that it has leveled the playing field when it comes to competing with the big boys. You have one shot at making a good first impression. With a well- designed site, your little operation can project the image and professionalism of a much larger company. The inverse is also true. I’ve seen many big company websites that were so badly designed and hard to navigate that they completely lacked professionalism and credibility. Good for you, too bad for them.
Do let me know if you are willing to discuss a possible redesigning of your website, to make it more appealing and comply with the International web standards. In fact, it would be best if you could send in your phone number, location (city) and a convenient time for you to speak.
Before I end, I thought it may help for you to know that our pricing packages start at USD 199 with no monthly fee and that, we have delivered more than 5000 websites over the past 6 years.
I look forward to your mail and to speak with you.
Kind Regards
Joy
PS A call now could get you our inaugural discounts.
Disclaimer: The CAN-SPAM Act of 2003 (Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing Act) establishes requirements for those who send commercial email, spells out penalties for spammers and companies whose products are advertised in spam if they violate the law, and gives consumers the right to ask emailers to stop spamming them. The above mail spammers-email@gmail.com  and we ensure you will not receive any such mails

So, apparently, Joy has had a look at the website, and now wishes to help us make it more appealing to web design standards (even though the site has been completely redesigned, optimised, made accessible, etc. in the last two months).

However, even though she’s apparently ‘seen’ the website, she didn’t use any of the contact details from the website (as the email address she contacted the client on, isn’t listed anywhere on the website), similarly, all the other questions are also answered clearly on the contact page!

I thought I’d do a quick check on how many times this email has been sent out.. (by taking a copy of a big bulk of text, and putting it in quote marks into Google)… however, rather than finding websites showing this email, I actually found 14 web design companies from around the world, using the same exact words on their own website!  I doubt all these web design companies are the offices mentioned in the email.

So these guys apparently redesign websites around 1,000 times a year, but they don’t look at them first but want you to contact them with your own details so they can sell you things.  It’s true that the gist of their email is correct.  But for them to claim to be part of the CAN-SPAM movement, send spam themselves, and not actually read anything of the people they contact (just send a generic email to people on a spammers list).. doesn’t give me the impression of an honourable business, just yet more people out to make money on the internet from people who don’t know any better!

Spam is getting more selective – Annual Design Awards

Spam emails are certainly getting more selective.

The email harvesting robots which trawl the web are now (on a strangely positive side) aligning harvested email addresses and targeting them at specific groups (ie email addresses that have not been opted in, but just collected in plain text from different websites it finds).
I’m sure my email address has now just been ‘sold’ (for a very small price no doubt), to lists claiming I’ve been opted in.

One of the hidden email addresses on the Parlour Design website (one that a typical human browser would have no reason to find), has just been invited to the ‘Annual Design Awards’, whereby for a fee, we can enter into a competition and submit our best design.
Using their special promotional code sent via email, we can also get a discount!

So if we were genuinely being invited by a human, they would have used one of the publicised email addresses on the main website.

Similarly, my belief is that if this was a genuine industry award, we wouldn’t pay to enter, but that the cost of looking through my entry would be covered by their advertising and sponsorship of the event.

I will of course be keeping clear of it.
That particular email address has now been blocked from further spam indefinitely, and the area it was used for, has now been updated to a new email address again.
I wonder how long it’ll be before this new email gets spammed again!

Domain Registry of America are now emailing highly misleading emails too

One of our customers, thankfully got in contact today (before it was too late), in relation to a new scam by the Domain Registry of America, as follows:

—–Original Message—–
From: Transfer and Renewal Support [mailto:transfers@droa.com]
Sent: 06 August 2009 09:04
To: domain-email@headmassage.com
Subject: TT0, headmassage.com;
Order # 1686111

Hello John Smith,

The transfer and renewal of your domain name, headmassage.com is not yet complete at this time.

Reason:
——-
1) The Domain name is currently in a “REGISTRAR-LOCK” status with your current registrar 1&1 INTERNET AG
2) We require that you provide us with an EPP Key/Authorization Code from your current registrar In order to complete the transfer and renewal, the “REGISTRAR-LOCK” status needs to be removed and an EPP Key/Authorization code needs to be obtained. Please see below for instructions on achieving this.

Solution:
———
– Log into your account with your current registrar, and change the status of your domain, headmassage.com, from “locked” to “active”.
– Then look for the EPP Key or Authorization Code.

Alternate Solution:
———
– Call your current registrar, 1&1 INTERNET AG (see phone number below) and ask them to remove the lock status of your domain name, give you your EPP Key, and allow the transfer to Domain Registry of America.
– Once done please notify us that you have done so, by clicking on the link below, or calling our toll-free number below.
https://namejuice.com/agree.asp?e=1&o=1686111&p=3110111

We will then re-attempt the transfer and renewal of your domain name.

As a convenience, we have supplied your current registrars phone number below.
Domain: headmassage.com
Current Registrar: 1&1 INTERNET AG
Registrar Phone Number: Please visit their site to contact them

Transfer Department
Domain Registry of America
Toll free 1-866-434-0212 or for International Callers, dial +1(905)479-2533

8/6/2009
4:04:11 AM

—–End Message—–

All the information they’d included in the email, had come from the publicly accessible ‘WhoIs’ information. The above email, was the first our client had received from DRoA, after absolutely no action from the client!

DRoA have been around since around 2001, misleading people, conning people, and overcharging people, etc.

For many years, these had been in the form of a highly misleading ‘invoice’ that would arrive in the post, with an American flag on the envelope, and an American reply address (even though they’re a Canadian company), warning domain owners that they must renew their domain immediately, otherwise it will be lost, and using various scare tactics about what could happen when their domain is lost (these letters would normally go out, around 4 months before the domain was due to come up for renewal anyway).

Once you then replied to the letter, asking them to ‘renew it’ (as many people did, thinking they were linked to your normal registrar, etc.), they’d control your domain, charge around 5 times the normal annual price to renew it each year, and charge an even bigger release fee, to get the domain back to any other reputable domain registrar!

After countless complaints, thankfully their postal letters changed to be slightly less misleading. However, I now discover they’ve moved to emails instead!

I couldn’t believe the audacity of the above email (the client’s information has been removed for data protection, and the domain name has been changed in this email for confidentiality).

Thankfully, this was stopped before the transfer could be completed.

Surprisingly, although the domain was hosted with 1&1, nothing had been changed with it apart from some new web-forwarding within the 1&1 control panel, so either DRoA were very lucky in their timing, or they have an automated system, looking out for significant changes to the forwarding of good domain names!