Sahar shows us why it is of utmost importance to protect your email accounts in his blog entry, “Hijack A Domain For 200$.” Apparently there is a website out there that can says it can get any email account password if you pay them $200. To prevent your domain names from being hijacked, Sahar recommends:
“to have your domain either on your own registrar or with one of the top registrars for professional domainers such as Moniker.com or Fabulous.com, and ask them for personal attention for any sort of transfer away of your domains from their registrars.”
I don’t know whether domain hijacking is happening more often or if it’s just becoming more publicized, but I have heard quite a bit about this lately. In fact, I received a poorly written email from an unknown person about a good name that was for sale. I checked and the name was registered to a company of the same name, so it seemed odd that it was for sale. I did a whois check, same info for the past 8+ years; However, the day before, the email address changed to a Hotmail account with all other info the same. I called Network Solutions in addition to the owner to warn her and left a voicemail. The next day, I received a thank you email as another domain investor also called and spoke with her, detailing what he thought happened. Because of quick thinking, we were able to save a nice lady from losing her name.
Here are some tips I would like to add to help prevent you from buying a stolen domain name:
1.) Do a Whois history check
-Did anything recently change?
-Does something seem strange in the Whois history like a different email address just added?
-Length of domain name ownership is a good way to tell if someone has all rights to the name
2.) Call the listed owner
-If the email address just changed, the owner will tell you the name isn’t for sale
-Conversation is frequently avoided by scammers
3.) Call/email the former owner
-They will tell you if they sold it (or if it was stolen)
4.) Search the forums/Google for any information that may raise red flags
-Stolen domain name posts
-Spam references on Google
5.) Do a WIPO/UDRP search
-May not be a anti-theft tool, but just make sure the history is clean
6.) Always pay with Escrow
–Escrow.com, Sedo, Moniker or Afternic offer this service
7.) Never pay with money order or cashier’s check
-Difficult to track
-Many scams involve counterfeit checks/money orders
8.) Only buy from the listed registrant
-Don’t attempt to buy from the technical contact if it’s different from the registrant
-Technical contact doesn’t necessarily own the name, but may just manage the domain name
9.) TRUST YOUR GUT!
-If an offer is too good to be true, it probably is
-If the terms the seller is requesting seem strange, question them