Domain Listings Scam

in Domain Names, Internet Advertising, Security, Web Design News, Web Site Security by

Whether you have an actual website or just a domain name, you have likely received something in the mail that looks like an invoice. If it looks like the image here and you pay it, congratulations. You just got scammed.

Why Is This a Scam?

Website Listing Service Scam

Website Listing Service Scam

The image here is an example of one of these invoices that was sent to one of our clients. Fortunately, she listened to the advice we give all clients when we start working with them: If you ever get any solicitation by phone, email or mail and it’s in reference to your website, internet marketing or your domain name and you’re not 100% sure that it is legitimate, contact us before you respond so that we can take a look at it to make sure you’re not being scammed. (Good job, Laura!)

To the unsuspecting recipient, the invoice could look totally legitimate. It will probably have an official looking logo. It will likely have the company’s return address. They will also show your ‘account number’ (I mean, that HAS to be real, right?). In the example sent to our client, it even indicated that the company was Accredited by the Better Business Bureau (more on that in a minute).

So how can we be sure this bill is deceptive? Well, here are a few red flags that should make you pause:

  1. Do you remember signing up with this company? If not, that’s the first red flag.
  2. No phone number shown for the company on the invoice. If you had a question for them about your bill, how are you supposed to contact them? Think about the genuine invoices that you receive. Don’t they typically show a phone number that you can call with questions? Of course they do. Strike two.
  3. BBB ListingBut wait, they’re BBB Accredited, right? Well, let’s explore that by checking their listing on the Better Business Bureau’s website. What domain-listings likely did is paid the BBB for accreditation when they started their scam. This enhanced their credibility for a while as they sent out these invoices. Then complaints to the BBB started coming in and the BBB revoked their accredited status but domain-listings still kept using the BBB image on their mailings. Very sneaky but strike three.

If going through those steps still doesn’t convince you that the invoice is fake, you can always use your favorite search engine and search for topics like “domain name listing scam” or “internet listing scam” and read through the thousands of results. You’ll even see some comments from people who blindly paid the invoice and later found out they had unknowingly relinquished ownership of their domain name!

Doing a search, I found some posts that show this company has been scamming unsuspecting website and domain name owners for years! This post from Techeffex is from 2013 and here’s an even older one from Andrew Miller with Workshop Digital. It’s from 2011! Wow.

Bottom Line

If you get one of these invoices and you pay it, that means you ran right through several red flags and fell for a scam. The company is not doing anything illegal. Unethical, yes, but not technically illegal (I’m not an attorney so there may be a law against this practice. Feel free to correct me below). So your best defense as a business owner is to use your head.

This means consumer beware. Do your research and contact your web designer / developer and let them take a look. If you don’t have a web designer, contact us or leave a comment below and we’ll be happy to take a look for you.

If you have stories of your own, share them below. The more we can get the word out, the harder it will be for companies like them to scam the rest of us out of our hard-earned money.

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30 thoughts on “Domain Listings Scam

  1. Chris Jude

    Only thing is to keep them at bay with our intuition and alertness. One such scam which is currently circulating with malware is watsapp gold. Be alert guys.

    Reply
    1. CCT Post author

      So glad that you didn’t get scammed, Linda! Great job on checking it out before sending them a payment! Well done 🙂

      Reply
  2. DeanaS

    Thanks for the information! Just received one of their invoices today. They have removed the BBB accreditation and added contact information for inquires – website, email & phone number. They must be reading your blog also.

    Reply
  3. Carmine

    I thought it was a scam. Your confirmation was helpful. Reduced stress.

    It is important to spread the info. But should such cases not be penalized in some fashion?

    Thanks!

    Reply
    1. CCT Post author

      Great job checking it out before sending them anything, Carmine. As you said, spreading the info is important. Preventing people from sending them money may be the best “penalty”.

      Reply
  4. Nick

    Their new invoice is a solicitation. They clearly state that they are trying to solicit you. They now claim to enhance your website exposure and to expose you to new customers.

    I still assume this is a scam, but hopefully people actually read the letter to see that it states “This is not a Bill.” in bold letters. This looks like a bill, and I can see how someone could just pay it without digging further. It is a couple hundred and could easily be paid without even knowing what it is.

    Reply
    1. CCT Post author

      Ahh, it seems they’ve changed things up a bit. Like you said, hopefully people will dig further before deciding to send any money. Good job checking it out first, Nick!

      Reply
    2. sheri

      I just received an invoice from them and no where on my invoice does it state “This is no a bill”. It shows me amount due, the date it is due and 5 different ways to pay this invoice. Luckily I know this is not who we renew our website through otherwise I would have paid it. But thought to search the internet just in case.

      Reply
      1. CCT Post author

        It seems they’re ever-changing. If we ever get another invoice from them, we’ll post it by way of an update. They must be making a LOT of money off these things! I feel badly for the people and companies throwing away their money. Good job staying alert, Sheri!

        Reply
  5. Kevin

    Thanks for the confirmation. I thought it was a scam. My invoice didn’t have the BBB logo and did have a phone number. However, when I tried to go to their website, I got this:
    The domain domain-listings.org is no longer parked by GoDaddy.

    Reply
    1. CCT Post author

      Sure thing, Kevin! Good job being cautious and checking into it first. Thanks for the updated info about the domain name too.

      Reply
  6. Karen

    I also thought it was a scam. I did google it and sent a copy to our IT department to inquire. They also said it was a scam and not to pay. Thanks for your blog!

    Reply
  7. Mike

    Received what appeared to be an “invoice” from Web Domain Listings about 7 days ago. It is misleading but it does indicate on the back of the “invoice” that they are not a domain registrar and they do not register or RENEW domain names. They also disclose that this “invoice” is a solicitation and there is no obligation to pay UNLESS you accept the offer.
    Questionable tactic but probably not illegal….weasels!!

    Reply
    1. CCT Post author

      Yeah! We heard that they’ve recently revised the verbiage to say that their mailing is a solicitation and not an invoice. I imagine that most people do not (unfortunately for them) take the time to read the fine print. Like you said, questionable tactic but probably not illegal. Well done Mike!

      Reply
  8. S

    I inquired about receiving analytics from webdomainlisting.org in order to see what they were actually doing, and I received an email saying:
    ” We don’t capture analytics. However I have asked management to add to our future initiatives.
    Thanks for your response,
    Desktop Support Web Domain Listings
    John 3:16″

    Which means that even if you pay for their services – although it clearly seems to be a scam – there would be no way for you to see if their services are bringing any kind of traffic to your website.

    Reply
    1. CCT Post author

      That is a GREAT thing to ask of them! Any company selling placement on their site should be able to provide some idea of how their customer would be benefited.

      Reply
  9. Cindy

    Just received one yesterday for a small non-profit org we have. I am temping to spend a stamp and send them back with a phony credit card number, signed by Santa Claus.

    Reply
  10. Mary

    They strike again – asking for $194.00. No phone number, but they do list a website [url removed]
    Has a qr reader, too.
    Thanks for this website and giving a place for others to note it’s a scam!

    Reply
    1. CCT Post author

      They’ll never stop. Great job investigating first, Mary! Thank you for letting us know that the info helped out! That is definitely the goal here 🙂

      Reply

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