Beware of Scams and Spam as a Website Owner

After managing several websites over the years, you find patterns from scammers. Often, my clients ask me to verify the legitimacy of something they’ve received, and many times, it’s a scam I’ve seen with other site owners. It’s crucial to be vigilant about emails or mail concerning your site. If something feels off, it probably is, and a quick Google search can confirm your suspicions.

Here are a few scams that I have seen pop up over the last handful of years from website owners.

Scam: Website Listing Service Invoice from “Domain Listing”

If you don’t have privacy protection for your domain, your email and address are publicly visible on domain search databases like whois.com. Companies like “Domain Listing” exploit this by sending fake invoices for listing your domain in an internet directory, especially around your domain renewal period. These invoices can be misleading, looking like they’re part of your domain renewal process. Remember, this isn’t a valuable service – they even admit they’re not a domain registrar on their invoice. It’s a classic bait-and-switch targeting unsuspecting website owners.

 

Scam: Emails Claiming Stolen Images on Your Site

This scam starts with a threatening email alleging you’ve used copyrighted images without permission. I once clicked on a link in such an email, which led to a dead end, making me suspicious. Turns out this is a common scam. The link could download malware or direct you to a phishing site.

Be aware if you receive an email like this below.  Please mark as spam, block the user and delete.

Hi there!

This is Melika and I am a licensed photographer.

I was surprised, to put it nicely, when I found my images at your web-site. If you use a copyrighted image without an owner’s permission, you must know that you could be sued by the copyright owner.

It’s against the law to use stolen images and it’s so selfish!

Take a look at this document with the links to my images you used at {website url} and my earlier publications to obtain the evidence of my ownership.

Download it now and check this out for yourself:

If you don’t delete the images mentioned in the file above during the next couple of days, I’ll file a complaint on you to your hosting provider stating that my copyrights have been severely infringed and I am trying to protect my intellectual property.

And if it doesn’t help, you may be pretty damn sure I am going to take it to court! And you won’t receive the second notice from me.

Spam: Email About Misspellings on Your Website

This one’s odd but straightforward. You get an email pointing out a spelling error on your site, suggesting a tool like SpellScan.com.

It looks like you’ve misspelled the word “suprised” on your website. I thought you would like to know :). Silly mistakes can ruin your site’s credibility. I’ve used a tool called SpellScan.com in the past to keep mistakes off of my website.

This might seem helpful, but it’s a ploy to boost traffic to their site, indirectly improving its search engine ranking. Please don’t fall for it.

Spam: Strange Referral Links in Website Analytics

Be cautious if you’re checking your site’s analytics and notice odd referral links. These are attempts to lure you into visiting their site, increasing their traffic and search engine relevance. The best course of action? Ignore these links.


If you find yourself pausing or questioning an email, link, or piece of mail related to your website, follow your instincts and search for a similar pattern in Google.  These scams and spams are sometimes pretty believable and some have been around for years, but there is probably a good chance someone has seen it before and wrote a blog post about it.

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