These days, pretty much everyone seems to receive too many spam phone calls. It seems like I receive many more than my wife, and I always assumed it was related to my domain name registrations. I receive quite a few spam text messages, too, and those are almost always related to web development, SEO, or logo design, which I assume is the result of harvesting phone number information from the Whois records on my domain names.
The vast majority of my domain names are registered at GoDaddy, and although I do not use Whois privacy, GoDaddy redacts Whois data so my email and phone number do not show up on Whois lookups for my domain names. I speculated that the reason for the spam calls could be my domain name wins on DropCatch.com, which would appear as newly registered domain names at NameBright, where I do not use Whois privacy either:
Tempted to answer one of these spam calls to try and see where they’re coming from. My guess is the uptick in DropCatch wins looks like newly registered names and callers are selling web dev, logo, or search engine services. Should turn on privacy on those names.
— Elliot Silver (@DInvesting) October 7, 2020
Abdu Tarabichi responded to my tweet and recommended getting a Google Voice phone number for Whois records since I have more control over the calls sent to my phone from my Google Voice account. Since I already have a Google Voice phone number for business, I decided to change the phone number on my contact information for domain names registered at NameBright to see if that number starts receiving spam calls.
I just checked that account, and I have 13 missed calls since Friday and one text message. It seems pretty clear that spammers are harvesting phone number details from my public Whois records and as soon as they see what appears to be a new domain name registration, they are attempting to sell me various services they think I might want to use.
One alternative to using a Google Voice phone number for Whois settings is to simply add free Whois privacy to my domain names at NameBright. The downside to this is prospective buyers who use Whois records for contact information may have a more challenging time reaching me to buy a domain name. However, nearly all of my names registered at NameBright are listed for sale via DAN.com, so that should not be an issue.
Notably, I have seen people comment that the spam calls are being made by the domain registrars themselves. I have no reason to believe this is true. I suspect some spam callers may suggest they are somehow affiliated or related to the domain registrar to drop the guard of the domain registrant or make them more willing to
It’s long been assumed that an uptick in spam calls is likely related to Whois data harvesting, but I proved that to be true by changing the phone number on the domain names that have public Whois information.