Recently there has been a solicitation scam going around that is soliciting businesses and individuals to pay for “Website Services” related to domains the individual or business owns. We wanted to take a moment and give some tips to avoid solicitation scams you may encounter.
The scam is coming in the form of physical mail, a retro scamming tactic, and the mail looks very similar to a bill. This is because it was intentionally designed to look like a bill to encourage the end receiver to pay up.
You can see the letter we received in the mail below. It looks pretty legitimate! Our team had to do a double-take on it to ensure it wasn’t legit.
The reality is, that it is no more than a bogus company trying to get you to pay them money to have your website listed on their “Domain Authority” website. While there is some SEO value to having your website listed on a directory, they will not pretend you’ve already been using their services as is implied in the above letter we received.
The scam goes an extra step to appear to be legit by including details about your website such as DNS records and domain names, this is actually publicly available information and is nothing unique. But to the untrained eye, it can appear legitimate. They also use clever design elements to mimic what a typical bill would look like and to create a sense of urgency for the receiver. The messaging follows the “Pay up or ELSE!” type effect.
Generally, your personal information is protected through your web host provider, depending on the services selected. Some individuals may choose to opt for these privacy features however it is not recommended as it leaves some personal information such as your address/phone number floating around on the internet available to anyone.
At Advantage Media Partners we ensure our clients are protected on this front. However, what the scammers likely are doing is creating a database of publicly available DNS records and Domain names, then scrapping the websites in that database for details such as addresses, names, phones numbers, etc. From there they were able to create a rather complex and well-designed scam through the mail.
Ultimately the best thing to do is to just throw this type of solicitation away. It’s not going to cause any direct harm beyond being a nuisance or causing some frustration if you happened to pay them. Throwing away the solicitation is not going to affect your website, it’s not going to affect your ad campaign, it really will not affect anything. So just throw it away already!
Finally, if you look closely at the line below you can the disclaimer here that technically makes this “not a scam” and from a legal perspective makes it fall under the “offer/solicitation” category…
To wrap up, if you ever have any questions about something suspicious REACH OUT TO US!!! We are here to help with any questions! We care about our customers and would love nothing more than to help them to avoid solicitation scams!
Take care and stay safe out there!