Since I registered my new domain I received several emails with same content and alternating sender, telling me that it would be about time to complete my search engine registration. The email contains my domain name as well as my full name.
The exact contents are as following (just my name and domain have been replaced):
Attention: Important Notice , DOMAIN SERVICE NOTICE
Domain Name: yourdomain.com
ATT: Your Full Name
Response Requested By
22 - Marc. - 2018
PART I: REVIEW NOTICE
Attn: Your Full Name
As a courtesy to domain name holders, we are sending you this notification for your business Domain name search engine registration. This letter is to inform you that it's time to send in your registration.Failure to complete your Domain name search engine registration by the expiration date may result in cancellation of this offer making it difficult for your customers to locate you on the web.Privatization allows the consumer a choice when registering. Search engine registration includes domain name search engine submission. Do not discard, this notice is not an invoice it is a courtesy reminder to register your domain name search engine listing so your customers can locate you on the web.This Notice for: yourdomain.com will expire at 11:59PM EST, 22 - Marc. - 2018 Act now!
When you click on the link you can select your package (do not click on it if you are not in a virtual environment!) you have to enter your website URL, name, email address and select the package you want to buy. The text on the scammers’ website should dispel last doubt that this is a serious company:
By submitting your business details with some great news in lot of these top ranked web directories, Your site will definitely get popular in Google rank and that interns increase your product sale. This service also has 100 percent high ability to drive online traffic to your most lovable business website. By using this service your site will get more online traffic.
This is a SCAM email send out to people with open registrations on their domain names. Whenever you register a new domain, your personal information is published to the public Whois Directory. This is required by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) as part of the domain name registration process. For .de domains for instance, this organization is called denic. You can check who is behind a .de domain on their official website: https://www.denic.de/webwhois-web20/?lang=en.
All domains ending with .de are registered with us. We are the central registry of all domains under the country code .de. This means that we administer the register of all .de domains and thus ensure that each domain exists only once. Thanks to this register, you can access websites directly by simply entering the “name” — we then assign it to the corresponding IP address.
This public directory exists for every top level domain. This means of course , that anyone can check who is the owner of a domain or website. This transparency is exploited by scammers to send you emails as the one pasted above.
Do not reply when you receive such an email and do not click on the link in the email!
How to register your website at search engines (really)
The basic information in the email is not completely wrong however. When you open up a new website with a new domain you should make sure that search engines know about your newly created website. It is not mandatory of course, but in the regular case people publishing content in the internet want others to find and read it. As you know, the most common search engine is Google. To publish your website there, you have different options:
- Open your website in the Google Chrome browser
- Link your website from another website already listed in the Google search results
- Register your website at the Google Search Console
Some information about the scammers
Said that, let’s have a more detailed look at the scammer’s website. Actually, in case you really provide your personal information in the form of their website you are redirected to the payment website. Obviously, you can leave the form empty as well, in won’t change the website’s behaviour when you click on “submit”. As I said, I received multiple scam emails with different URLs inside. No surprise, that all websites linked in the different emails host the same HTML basically. Two of the websites I checked allowed only payment via Paypal, the third one Paypal and Bitcoin. The receiver email for the Paypal account was the same for all websites. Out of curiosity I had a look on the Bitcoin balance of the address provided on one of the scammer’s websites:
Total amount of received Bitcoins is 67 BTC which corresponds to an amount of 585,967.05 USD (based on exchange rate on March 2018). The final balance is 0.04 BTC at the moment, so the scammers have probably carried their money arleady into safety.