This particular scam by the Domain Registry of America is very convincing and could easily end up with your domain name (website address) being locked into a contract that is difficult and time consuming to resolve.
This scam starts by an official looking letter that arrives by snail mail stating that your domain name is due to expire and needs renewing. The charge they make is usually quite high compared to other domain registrars but more importantly your signature on the bottom of the form gives them authorisation to move your domain name into their control. The letter often has a UK return address.
Once this is done there is a high annual charge to maintain the domain and often no way of accessing your domain name to point it at your website. There is also very little chance of talking to someone within the company. There is an American phone number available but my client has not managed to talk to anyone using this number.
Until we intervened for our client there was no response from any emails that were sent and the only way we were able to elicit a response was to have our client send the following email:
You currently have control of our domain xxxx.com and we require that you release control of it within the next 30 days
Please ensure you comply with the following:
Remove WHOIS privacy details
Remove all locks
Change the admin contact to email@example.com
Provide the authorization code for transferring the domain.
Your failure to comply with any of these requests in the time limit specified will result in the report of your company to ICANN and legal action being taken against your company both for the release of the domain name and damages for our inability to use the domain name.
By including the reference to ICANN (The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) you have made it quite clear that your next step will to be to take action to recover your domain name forcefully.
Although it took time we did receive a response together with log-in details for their website which allowed us to eventually recover the domain name.
Similar scams exist under the names NameJuice, EU Registry Services, Domain Registry of Europe and Domain Renewal Group.
Although it is possible to reverse this process the time, cost and potential loss of business from having no website presence is massive. Please be aware of this and other scams and as always if you would like advice or have your domain managed to protect it then give us a phone.