We interrupt this regularly scheduled retrospective to bring you a scam alert.
That’s right, someone attempted to scam me. Conveniently, I’m smarter than they think and they certainly didn’t catch me.
Yesterday, while skimming my mail (mostly junk – don’t these people have better things to spend their money on?) I came across an envelope from Domain Renewal Group. Now, I have never purchased a domain through Domain Renewal Group, and I know that none of the domains I own are due to expire for at least four months.
I opened the envelope and was presented with a piece of paper that looks a lot like a bill. It gives me the option to renew for 1, 2, or 5 years, as well as purchase the associated .net and .org sites. The kicker here is that they are asking $30 for one year and $50 for two years, significantly more than I’m paying now.
Now, if I open the whole letter and read it, not just the payment stub, they do say that they are offering me the chance to switch to their company for domain registration for their “best savings.” And of course, they warn me that if I don’t renew, I could lose my site. They are careful to say that it’s my option and that I don’t have to renew with them, but that I should check out prices and make a decision. If I followed those instructions, I would see that I’m in a fine spot now and don’t need to make any sort of changes.
But I am the type of person who reads bills when they come in. Every bill. I look at the cable bill to see if there are any changes. I review my cell phone bill to be sure there are no excess charges. I reconcile my credit card statements to be sure that every charge is, in fact, a charge I made. So of course, I’m going to read this “bill” and realize what it is.
Unfortunately, not everyone takes the time to do that. I think a lot of people open the envelope, see the payment stub on the top, and just fill it out and send it in, not realizing that what they’re doing is transferring their domain registration to a different, more expensive company.
A quick search on the web will show you that Domain Renewal Group has been doing this sort of thing for a while under a number of different names.
I’m sure that most of the regular readers of this blog are the sort to scrutinize their bills and would probably catch this before sending in a payment, but it’s always important to point these things out. Even if you don’t have a domain name. Watch out for other “bills” that appear in your mailbox.
Megan is a 40-something government employee in the Washington, DC area. She got interested in Personal Finance when she got out of college and realized that her paycheck wasn’t going to go as far as she had hoped. Since starting this blog, she has managed to buy a house and make a solid start on her retirement goals, and hopes to help others do the same. Here is her story:
In 2007, I was a gainfully employed 20-something with no debt but not a lot of knowledge about personal finance. It was a co-worker’s comment about Roth IRAs that sent me to the internet, searching for information. It was then that I realized that I really didn’t know a whole lot about personal finance and that my current financial situation was due a lot to inherent frugal tendencies, generous family members, a fear of debt, and good luck. While that was working for me, clearly I needed a better plan.
While I had no debt, I was also pretty much living paycheck to paycheck and not worrying about going over budget (I say this as if I had a real budget) because I had an emergency fund set aside to cover any overages.
Except that’s not what an emergency fund is for.
So I did a lot of research, read a lot of blogs, and decided that I needed a plan. I needed to budget. I needed to know what I was spending my money on. I needed to prepare for the future.
I decided to create a blog not only to make myself accountable to others but also to share the knowledge that I gained along the way. I’ve learned so much from my fellow bloggers, and I hope that my readers can find something useful in what I have to share as well.