If you’ve ever registered an Internet domain name, chances are that at some point you have been on the receiving end of an SEO scam email.
SEO (search engine optimization) scams are an attempt to trick domain owners into either paying hefty fees for useless services, or to reveal passwords and login information that scammers can use to infiltrate your website. Having registered hundreds of Internet domains for clients over the years, I get these scams all of the time.
Here’s one that arrived in my Inbox 2 days ago:
(I am intentionally presenting the email I received as a “screen capture” above and not copying-and-pasting the actual text because I don’t want Google to find this drivel on my blog.)
While the scam is obvious to me, you would be surprised by the number of people who respond to these emails — either by hiring the sender to perform necessary “work” on their website, or by providing usernames and passwords that compromise their website.
How can you avoid these traps?
First, learn to recognize the language. These emails are very poorly written, almost always containing grammatical mistakes or awkward construction.
Second, check the sender’s “reply-to” email address. They are almost always from throw-away email addresses, such as Hotmail, Yahoo, or Gmail accounts. Rarely will you ever see a legitimate business domain name in the email address.
Finally, never — ever — click the “unsubscribe” link or reply to the message requesting to unsubscribe. Doing so only proves to the sender that they’ve reached a working email address, and you can be sure of receiving scams and unwanted emails for a long time to come. What should you do? Simply click “Delete”.