This warning is for every domain owner to watch out for the sleazy practices of domain slammers. There are several domain registration companies that send out letters that LOOK LIKE A BILL to domain owners warning them that their domain is coming up for renewal, and ordering info to renew the domain. If you don't read the letter carefully, you'll never notice the "this is not a bill" line in the middle of a paragraph of text. Legislation has required that they make it more obvious than it used to be, but it is still a sleazy practice. And if you do renew the domain through their letter, your .COM will be $35 for a year. In reality, you shouldn't be paying more than $10 for a .COM - usually more like $7 or $8.
In businesses these letters frequently get automatically get routed to the Accounts Payable department. If Accounts Payable is not aware of these domain slammers, your AP people can "pay the bill" which will end up in transferring your domain to the slammers for a highly inflated price.
To help prevent getting slammed, do the following:
1. Alert your Accounts Payable about domain slamming companies
2. Enable the registry lock on your domain
3. Only reply to letters/emails from YOUR registrar
4. If you are unsure of who your registrar is, you can look up your domain using a WHOIS tool - unless you opted to use private registration when you registered your domain. (WHOIS on my site, WHOIS through Network-Tools.com)
I won't list the domain slammers names here in case that would be against the rules of the forum, but you can find out more by Googling for "domain slammers".
Some companies have had their hands slapped for their practices, but letters are still being sent that look like a bill. What inspired me to write this tip is that I got 3 of them this week from 2 different companies. Our AP department (at my day job) forwarded them to me saying "Is this ok to pay?"
Be sure to watch out, stay informed and don't fall for it!