Email fraud: How to avoid domain name scams
Learn more about how you can save your business from losing money and paying fraudulent invoices.

In the past, mass emails have been sent to companies with .au registrants to pay invoices in relation to a renewal of their domain name licence. A number of business owners have been deceived by the scam and lost money paying fraudulent invoices. The Australian body responsible for operating the .au registers, the .au Domain Administration (auDA), and the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) brought legal proceedings against the company, Domain Name Corp Pty Ltd, involved on the grounds that the representations were false and hence misleading and deceptive, in breach of section 52 of the Trade Practices Act 1974. The company has since been put out of operation, however there have still been occurrences where similar scams are used, which means Australian businesses need to remain vigilant.

How the scam operates
The scam is dependent on business owners not examining their invoices carefully. Scammers will send an unsolicited email requiring you to renew your domain name, hoping that you do not realise that it is not a genuine registration invoice.

There are various forms of the scam:
● The invoice does not contain your domain name, but rather a similar name which may have just one character different.
● The company deceives you into paying them for the registration of your domain name when they have not in fact registered your domain name.
● The invoice appears to be for registering your domain name but is a contract to sign up for the company’s services. The invoice may also include another offering such as a free product or service. You would then agree to paying a regular fee to register your domain name, which are generally significantly more than the typical fee.

How can I protect my business?
1. Prior to paying the invoice, confirm that it was sent from the same company. This should be the company that you initially registered your domain name with. The company should be an accredited and licensed registar, in accordance with auDA.
2. Check that the domain name on the invoice is the exact same as your current domain name.
3. Ensure that your business’s domain name registration is due to be renewed. Alternatively, make sure you are aware of when your domain names are due for renewal.

CCGM Business Advisory was established to offer personalised business solutions from our team of experienced professionals. Contact us on 02 8355 1655 if you require advice on how to avoid becoming a victim to fraud or how to respond when you have paid a fraudulent invoice.