"We received some notices by mail that our domain registration is due. Does that jive with your records at Hostbaby?"
We get this question a lot, so I thought I would post some information on this here.
The short answer is, if it's from Domain Registry of America, Liberty Names of America or Domain Registry of Canada, it's a scam, throw the letter away and forget about it.
Another thing that's come up lately is the mysterious phone call scam. A person (often with a heavy accent) calls, from "Domain Registry Support" and gives a very 'canned', very high-pressure pitch about how you're "going to lose your domain name" unless you update your info with them *right now*. They press you for a fax number, and if you won't give it, they give you this number to call: 800-591-7398. I did a google search on that phone number, and found quite a few mentions of it, all saying it's a scam. For example:
Apparently they call regardless of the "do not call" registry - one quote I read said that their response is "We don’t care about the do not call registry because we aren’t selling anything. This is just a professional service call." The google searches also turn up 866-383-0986 as a phone number that they call from, so be careful if that number calls, too.
So I caution everyone - do NOT give out any information to these scammers - just hang up on them. If you have ANY questions about your domain registration, call Hostbaby or shoot us an email and we'll always tell you the straight scoop.
The long answer is to get more information and understand the process a bit.
Step 1: See your details
To see the details of your domain registration, you need to do a "WHOIS" lookup. Check out a WHOIS lookup tool as an example.
In the search box, enter your domain name (as in: yourdomain.com without the www.) and click the 'Whois Lookup' button. On the screen that follows, you'll see the details of your domain name, looking something like this:
Registrar: TUCOWS INC. Whois Server: whois.opensrs.net Referral URL: http://domainhelp.tucows.com Name Server: NS1.HOSTBABY.COM Name Server: NS2.HOSTBABY.COM Status: REGISTRAR-LOCK Updated Date: 28-feb-2013 Creation Date: 01-jan-2003 Expiration Date: 01-jan-2014
Down towards the bottom you'll see something like this:
Registration Service Provider: HostBaby, email@example.com 503-256-4450 http://www.hostbaby.com This company may be contacted for domain login/passwords, DNS/Nameserver changes, and general domain support questions.
Step 2: What does this mean?
If it does say HostBaby for the Registration Service Provider, then we are managing your domain name for you. Chances are that we have your domain name set to auto-renew, so you won't have to worry about the renewals, ever, as long as you are our hosting customer. If you want to double-check this, just send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with your domain name and we'll let you know for sure.
It may, instead, say something like:
Registered through: GoDaddy.com (or some other registrar)
If this is the case, that means that Hostbaby is NOT managing your domain name for you (although we are doing your hosting), In this case, you'll have to renew your domain name with whomever the domain is registered through (GoDaddy.com in the case above).
If you want to start a registrar transfer so HostBaby can manage it for you, send an email to email@example.com with your domain name and we'll let you know what to do next.
Step 3: What about this notice I received?
If the notice is NOT from your Registrar on record, you should ignore it, period. It's a scam. Most registrars send email notices when it's time for you to renew (if you're not on auto-renew), but the email will be from YOUR registrar (as above).
The one to watch out for
By far the most common scammer in this game is Domain Registry of America. See this Google search.
They send very official looking postal-mail notices telling you that your domain is about to expire, and you need to fill out the enclosed form and send it back asap or you will lose your domain name. What they don't explicitly tell you is that if you do, you are authorizing a registrar-transfer so that they manage your domain name for you, often at prices that are MUCH higher than any of the reputable registrars.
Finally, if you have ANY questions about your domain registration, simply send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with your domain name and we'll tell you exactly what you need to know.