How to Spot the iDNS Domain Name Scam

Over the past few months I have received multiple official-looking letters from “iDNS – Internet Domain Name Services” telling me “When you switch today the Internet domain name services, you can take advantage of our best savings.”

iDNS Domain Name Scam Letter

The problem is that the cost for the iDNS domain name registration is three times more expensive than my current registration fee. You would be surprised how many people fall for the iDNS Domain Name Scam.

Who are they?

The letter comes from a New Jersey address and their official name is Internet Domain Name Services Inc. Their website is listed on the letter as www.idns.ae. The AE top-level domain is for the United Arab Emirates. Previous letters had a different web address registered in St. Helena, Ascension, and Tristan da Cunha. They could’ve registered that unusual domain to avoid consumer protection laws in the United States.

The company uses a Jersey City New Jersey business address. According to Google maps, this address looks like it is a UPS store.

The Better Business Bureau online file contains 34 negative reviews and complaints about this company.

What do they want?

They are trying to trick you into changing your domain registrar to them so they can charge you three times what everyone else charges.

“You must renew your domain name to retain exclusive rights to it on the web, and now is the time to transfer and renew your name from your current registrar to Internet Domain Name Services. Failure to renew your domain name by the expiration date may result in the loss of your online identity making it difficult for your customers and friends to locate you on the web.”

While you do need to make sure to renew your domain name registration, you should not to do it with iDNS.

What should I do?

Nothing. Throw the letter away.

You probably bought your domain name from a company like GoDaddy, SiteGround, or one of the many other domain registrars. When your domain does get close to your expiration date, they will send you an email notifying you of the renewal.

When it is time to renew your domain, you should expect to pay about $15 per year. If you’re being asked to pay more than this amount, always question the service provider.

Another tip: A frequent problem I see when auditing agency websites is that the agency actually does not own the domain name. This likely happened when the site was created by an outside development company. They register the company domain under their name, not the agency’s.

This is a mistake that should be corrected.

You can  download a PDF copy of the notice I received (with sensitive information redacted), so you can educate your staff to always ask questions when someone wants you to move the agency domain name registration.

What steps do you take to make sure you protect your agency website address and, thus, your Internet presence?

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