Domaining might not have made it into the dictionary as a “real” word, but one thing that is very real is the theft of domain names that has plagued the industry since its inception. Domains are financial assets, and stealing one is a potentially lucrative activity. Domain theft is common because it isn’t that difficult to commit. You don’t need to be a genius, just persuasive and devious. Don’t be too scared though. By remaining diligent and plugging potential security holes, you can protect your portfolio from the scammers using these 4-steps:
1. Avoiding The Domain Credit Card Scam
Beware of emails that sound too good to be true, because in the majority of cases they usually are. A lack of negotiation is usually enough to set off the warning lights, along with heavy persuasion to pay by credit card via PayPal. Thieves will approach you through email and set up what appears to be a legitimate sale. They pay and reverse the sale on the card within a couple of days, keeping the cash and the domain. To avoid this use an escrow service. Of course the card is stolen, too, so any chances of finding the thieves is remote. The domain will be quickly resold.
2. Don’t Risk Buying Stolen Domains
Before you get too excited and splash out on a new domain, like a car, you need to check its history. For all you know the domain you are trying to purchase was stolen and is being legally pursued by its original owner. If you buy a stolen domain it may at some point be transferred back to the original owner, leaving you with no domain and heavily out of pocket. Before purchasing a domain check that it isn’t on the list at DomainTheft.org.
3. Secure Your Email
Thousands of email accounts are hacked every day, and access to your inbox is all a thief needs to steal your domain(s). Once a thief has access to your email they can reset your registrar account and start transferring or selling your domains without your permission. Opt for a secure email account over commercial types such as Hotmail, Yahoo! or Gmail account. Set up an email account on one of your registered domains. Don’t be lazy with your password either. Make your password long and awkward, with a mixture of lower and upper case letters, symbols and numbers. Change your password on a monthly basis.
4. Lock Your Domains
Newbie domainers usually miss this security hole until someone more experienced points it out. Domains can be locked from the dashboard of your domain host. Simply go into the settings and lock your domains to disable them for transfer without your permission. if you can’t find the function drop your registrar an email.
There is another nasty scam you should know about called the domain appraisal scam. Read more about that here.