If you’ve purchased a domain for your business, you no doubt anticipate keeping it for quite some time. Just because you have legally purchased a domain doesn’t necessarily mean that it can’t be stolen from you, as this is actually a very common occurrence. Here are some common ways that hijackers use to steal domains so that you can take the proper precautions needed in order to protect yourself.
Know When your Domain Expires
A common way that people have their domain names stolen is by allowing them to expire. Once a domain has expired, another person can easily and legitimately purchase it. In fact, there are a number of people involved in domain speculation, which involves buying and trading domain names, that often lie in wait for certain domains to expire so that they can take advantage of the situation and obtain these URLs for themselves.
Prevent Fraudulent Transfer Requests
Another way your domain could be taken from you is by submitting a fraudulent transfer request with the registrar. This commonly occurs whenever a domain owner uses a free e-mail service such as Yahoo! or Gmail, and then fails to log in within a specified period of time. This results in the email account being closed, which then leaves a hijacker free to obtain that email address, thereby gaining access to correspondence. Once a transfer has been made, it can be extremely difficult to get that domain back, as the hijacker could even sell it off in many cases.
Spamming and Pfishing
Hijackers sometimes send emails asking for information about your domain in an effort to gain information that could be used to steal it from you. Many of these emails will warn of pending cancellation if you do not reply and provide the information that is requested. Never answer emails from senders you are unfamiliar with, and always double check the validity of any request that asks for sensitive information just in case it is a hijacking attempt. You should also avoid clicking on any links in suspicious emails, and report them as spam to your service provider.
Failing to Respond in a Timely Manner
You may not realize this, but your domain name could be cancelled if you fail to respond to inquiries from your registrar within a specified period of time. Some registrars will make periodic contacts with domain owners in an effort to keep information up to date. Should they be unable to contact you, your domain could then be cancelled, leaving another person free to snatch it up before you are even aware that anything has happened. In order to prevent this from happening, make sure your contact information is up to date at all times, and always respond to the registrar within the given timeframe.
The idea of domain name hijacking can be frightening, which is why you should take the necessary precautions to protect yourself against it. By following these easy steps, stealing your domain will be much harder for others to accomplish.