I got a letter in our post box yesterday that really stood out for a number of reasons. Firstly it looked like it had been in a mechanics back pocket for two days before it was mailed. It was bent, dirty and broken. The second thing however was that it was from France.
It was addressed to one of our companies trustytradesman.com.au . Now we do not get a lot of mail for Trusty as it is set up in such a way to minimise admin, but the fact we had mail was not the interesting thing… it was the fact that it had come all the way from France!
Our company has been confused with a company from the UK of the same name in the past, so i figured it must be another case of mistaken identity, however I was wrong.
Upon opening this travel weary little piece of mail I was greeted with the headline:
WorldWide Web Register
Please, make sure that your website address as specified is updated
by returning this form in the enclosed envelope.
It seemed like an odd request, so rather than just chuck it out as it was quite clearly a piece of spam… I read the fine print and here is what I discovered…
The company was promising to ‘register’ my domain name in their records (both cd-rom and online) for a period of three years for the cost of 877 euros. Firstly, I had to find out how much a euro was worth. With current exchange rates that is $1 481.42.
$1 481.42 to make sure that my domain name was in THEIR register. Doesn’t google do that for free? WTF?
I am purposefully not mentioning their name here as I do not want them to get any backlinks from my blog because this is a MAJOR CON.
I had heard of this kind of thing before, in fact even before the web people have targeted international companies (outside of Europe) and offered to enter you into an official sounding company register only to find out that it is actually just an exercise book. A friend of mine used to be involved in a multinational company that actually got had by one of these types of scams.
My question is, would you get caught by this. Does your business have an understanding of how the web works and who you pay for what?
I tend to find people outside of the industry do not really get domain registration, hosting, email marketing services… they just lump it all in to Internet. They are not sure what they have to pay, therefore sometimes they pay anything that comes in, including those dodgy domain registration forms that used to turn up from time to time.
So this post is a warning, that not all scams come from Nigeria asking for you to accept $30 Million, sometimes they look innocent and legitimate, and might accidentally be paid by an unaware accounts department. DO you really want to spend $1400 on something you don’t need?
Make sure your Internet person has got all this in one place and sorted for you, and if you would like a hand in getting your head around it and making sure all your ducks are in a row, shoot me an email.
Don’t get caught out.