An older scam seems to be enjoying a resurgence in New Zealand at the moment, and can seem quite convincing at first glance.
Scammers use the registration details for domain names to contact owners, sending out a “renewal notice” for payment. These groups will in fact provide legitimate domain registration, but do so at a hefty premium. The fine print will usually explain that the “renewal notice” constitutes an agreement to switch the domain name to their company, and victims may find it difficult to transfer it back again.
Avoiding this scam is simple: know who your domain registrar is (eg. Freeparking, GoDaddy) and ignore any communications around your domain name that don’t come from that company. Any request to “unlock” or “transfer” your domain name is likely to be one of these scams, so if you’re unsure, seek help before you authorise any changes!
It also pays to know your domain’s expiry date, so you can check what’s happened if you don’t hear anything when it is approaching (you can check this with a WHOIS request, or by logging into your domain account).
While these scams are most commonly carried out via email, some scammers are now using domain mailing addresses to post out physical attempts, using attractive presentation and fearful language to push for a fast decision.