Texting “STOP” is not 100 percent effective. Often, it isn’t even an option — such is the case for the three scams our customers ask us about most. So today, we thought we’d take a few minutes to bring to light these scams and what to do about them.
Guest Post or Link
The scam: You receive an email from someone asking to place an article or link on your student news site in exchange for payment. It’s an SEO scam. The details about the payment and content of the article are usually vague on purpose, or left out altogether, in an attempt to get a response out of you. The email itself is written either in an overly formal way or in robotic, broken English — a hallmark of these email scams.
What to do: Nothing. Do not respond.
Domain Expiration Letter
The scam: A company called Domain Registry of America is sending letters to domain owners telling them that their domain is about to expire, and all they have to do is sign the letter and send in a check for roughly $80. This is not a courtesy, nor is it about a renewal. What this company is really after is a transfer in ownership of your domain. They want it, and they want you to pay them to take it. (Read more about it here.)
What to do: Do not respond; do not send them any money. Contact SNO Support to verify that we have the domain registered or we’ll help you locate it.
Threat of Legal Action
The scam: You receive a letter, email or phone call from a law firm threatening to sue you for using a copyrighted image by a photographer they represent. To avoid a lawsuit, they’ll tell you, your school just needs to make a payment of roughly $2,000. These threats are likely being made by companies that have designed software to scan the internet for these images, so it’s likely then someone on your staff may have used a copyrighted image. (Read more about it here.)
What to do: You should take down the image from your website, for sure, because you should have read our advice on avoiding copyright infringement, but don’t immediately engage with the company. Consult with the SPLC or your school’s attorney first, before paying anyone anything.
It’s important to exercise caution with anything like these scams and good to practice messaging awareness. If it sounds weird, looks weird or makes you feel weird, chances are it’s weird.
If you’re not sure, it’s OK to ask. Maybe we’ve seen it before. Just ask us.