By now, I hope you're aware this scam artists send email under the name of major banks and other businesses, trying to trick you into logging in at their disguised website and revealing your username and password.
Warning: If you get an email from eBay, PayPal, a bank or a credit card company, it's probably bogus. Never log into a website like that by clicking a link in an email. It's too easy to "look" official yet most often, it's a trick.
Further Warning: It's even possible for a virus or spyware to convert your bookmarks (or favorites) to take you to a phony website, again to trick you into giving up private information.
The best bet is to type in the address; second best is to check the address after you click on a bookmark (never trust an email to properly access your bank account, credit card account, or eBay account).
At least one bank, Bank of America, comes back with a "password" for you before you put in your password, so you know it's really them asking.
But this article is about a different "phishing" scam.
Is your domain expiring, or have you received a notice about "renewing" your domain listing?
A client just faxed me a bill from a company for a year's listing fee. It included submission to 20 search engines. Might even be legitimate, except they're trying to trick the company into paying.
"Should I pay this?" the client asked me. "Is this something you set up?"
"NO! I replied. It's a scam!"
The story of another client, duped by a very official looking notice.
This woman was so proud... she just knew I'd be impressed that she had renewed her domain name for five years for just $95.
She received an official looking notice in the mail from an official sounding company, Domain Registry of America. I've received similar, very official looking notices from other firms. All wanting to renew my domain.
They make it sound like it's just a renewal. In the fine print, you see it's a renew or transfer deal; they're trying to get you to switch to them, at about twice market price.
"What! $95 is a gyp?"
Yes, about twice the going rate.
But for this client, even worse. Since DreamHost includes one domain with the hosting package, it was "free" to her. So she paid $95 for something she gets for free.
She denied the transfer request when it came through from DreamHost.
But they keep trying, and she keeps denying. And she's still trying to get a $95 refund.
A refund is unlikely. It's probably just lost money.
Keep a close watch
Yes, you want to renew your hosting account, and renew your domains before they expire. It's another reason to keep your domains registered at DreamHost, even there are other firms who may be a wee bit cheaper.
You won't have to keep track of who is who. And you can easily log on your DreamHost control panel and renew domnains, renew hosting, etc.