Beware of the $50 “Domains By Proxy” Scam
If you’re a Domains By Proxy customer you might be in for a bit of a surprise. Domains by Proxy (DBP) is an Internet company owned by GoDaddy founder Bob Parsons (as stated on Wikipedia and other resources, but denied by GoDaddy). Support for Domains By Proxy is also provided by GoDaddy. Domains By Proxy offers domain privacy services through partner domain registrars such as Go Daddy and Wild West Domains. The service provided by Domains By Proxy allows website owners to remain private. The service will mask a website’s private information such as contact information, address, telephone number, email address, location, and more. It basically hides a website’s WHOIS information.
While none of this is certainly surprising, it has recently come to our attention about a scam that is operated by Domains By Proxy. The Domains By Proxy scam literally steals $50.00 USD from GoDaddy and Domains By Proxy customers without warning and without a legitimate reason. Furthermore, Domains By Proxy can also leak your private information which you pay them to to shield to anyone who wants it.
How the Domains By Proxy Scam works
1. A third-party person or group sends Domains By Proxy a complaint or files a claim concerning content on your website. The content may or may not exist on your website, it doesn’t matter. The complaint can be patently fake or entirety true. The complaint may claim to be a possible legal matter for infringement, copyright, slander, etc.
2. Domains By Proxy sends the victim an email message with a subject similar to “Update [Incident ID: xxxxxxxxxx] – Possible Legal Issue Regarding example.com :: xxxx” which says something like “We have received a possible legal complaint for your domain name example.com and are forwarding it to you as a courtesy. At this time, DBP has not cancelled the private registration service, nor has it disclosed your non-public contact information to the complaining party” and contains the complaining parties alleged information.
3. At this point in time the victim may be charged $50.00 by Domains By Proxy because they “recently received an inquiry related to your domain name.” Yes, you heard me correctly – GoDaddy and Domains By Proxy will charge you $50.00 because someone sent them a message concerning your domain name. GoDaddy calls this an “Administration fee” and will claim that it is in accordance with the 31,463 word registration agreement which can be found here. The registration agreement does not clearly list the amount of any fees which suggest that DBP can charge different victims different amounts; However, $50.00 seems to be the most common amount according to various reports on the internet. Of course, this is obvious entrapment as users are always unaware of this fee.
Here’s a scary part of GoDaddy’s registration agreement concerning fees:
You agree to pay any and all prices and fees (including any registration fees required by ICANN) due for Services purchased at this Site at the time you order the Services. All prices and fees are non-refundable unless otherwise expressly noted, even if your Services are suspended, terminated, or transferred prior to the end of the Services term. GoDaddy expressly reserves the right to change or modify its prices and fees at any time, and such changes or modifications shall be posted online at this Site and effective immediately without need for further notice to you. If you have purchased Services for a period of months or years, changes or modifications in prices and fees shall be effective when the Services in question come up for renewal as further described.
They will notify the victim of this $50.000 charge with a “email@example.com” email address that you obviously cannot reply to.
4. Domains By Proxy might then send another email that basically means that they are going to send the third-party your information you pay them to protect:
As your private registration provider, Domains By Proxy (“DBP”) has received notice of a possible legal issue concerning example.com. Pursuant to your agreement with DBP, you are responsible for responding to the complaining party. To avoid disclosure of your contact information, you must:
1. Contact the complaining party via email and CC: or BCC: “firstname.lastname@example.org” on the message; and
2. Provide your complete contact information to the complaining party, including full name, company name (if applicable), address, phone number and email address; and
3. Insert the following information in the subject line of the email: example.com.
Failure to comply with these steps by close of business on [date removed] may result in the disclosure of your contact information to the complaining party. Indeed, your agreement with DBP remains in effect.
Please direct any questions about these instructions to email@example.com. Any questions about the legal issue should be directed to the complaining party (contact information is listed below) and/or your legal counsel.
It should boldly be noted that anyone can send Domains By Proxy a fake complaint or email message about you. They can even refer to a webpage that has never existed on your website. You can even email Domains By Proxy (because they do not offer phone support or support through GoDaddy) and tell them that the complaint is fake, that the webpage has never existed on your website, and that they are wrong and they will still charge you $50.00. This is the definition of a scam.
In 2014 TorrentFreak published an article about how Domains By Proxy handed over personal details of a “prate” site owner who says his website doesn’t host any copyrighted material and assumed that Domains by Proxy would at least notify him before sharing any personal details. He claims the third-party acquired his personal details from Domains By Proxy without providing actual proof of their claims.
- Source: https://torrentfreak.com/domains-proxy-hands-personal-details-pirate-site-owner-140307/
There are so many stories like this and so many complaints against Domains By Proxy for this type of behavior that it would lead you to wonder how DBP is allowed to legally operate. A simple Google Search for “Domains By Proxy scam” or “Domains By Proxy complaint” will return over 243,000 search results.
In conclusion, we warn you to be aware of the Domains By Proxy scam. If you have fallen victim to the Domains By Proxy scam we advise you to contact GoDaddy for more information and file a complaint against the charge on your account through the institution it was credited to. We also advice you to file more complaints against Domains By Proxy everywhere you can because these types of scams should be conducted by such a popular company.