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Are You Due? What to Do When You Get a Renewal Notice

Your business relies on any number of service providers. You’re likely contracting for domain names, website hosting, data backup, software licenses, to name just a few. And that’s only your online presence! So, when a renewal notice comes in, you might just forward it on or file it away for future reference. Here’s what you should be doing instead.

First, when you get a renewal notice, you should confirm that it’s legitimate. This is especially true of domain names. Your business’s domain name and expiration date are publicly available. Anyone could look them up and send you an invoice. Scammers do. They monitor expiring domain names and then send out emails or convincing physical notices telling you it’s time to renew. They are not doing this as a civic service!

Instead, they will be trying to get you to switch your domain services to a competitor or, worse, hoping you’ll pay your renewal fee to their account, which has no connection to your domain.

  • Look out for the following indicators that the notice is a fraud:
  • The price is much more than you’d expect.
  • The deadline is within seven days.
  • You don’t know the business name.
  • This business has never contacted you before.
  • The notice requires you to send a check.

Handling Authentic Renewal Notices

Once you’ve determined the authenticity of the renewal notice, you’ll want to take stock. Putting your licenses or other online services on auto-renewal plans can be easier, but it may not be cost effective. Before re-upping your plan consider:

  • Are you still using this service?
  • Do you really still need it?
  • Do your current needs meet your current plan?
  • Should you upgrade or downsize?

You might also contact your provider directly and ask:

  • Is there a better product available now?
  • Are you eligible for a loyalty discount?

The company you’re dealing with wants to keep your business (hence, the renewal notice). That can give you some leverage in negotiating what you are paying or what service you are getting. You could treat an annual renewal notice as an opportunity to renegotiate terms. It’s not always going to work, but it can be worth a phone call as you try to keep business expenses under control.

Finally, you should pay attention to any deadlines on the renewal notification. Some are sent months in advance. That seems so helpful, but if you put it away to deal with later, before you know it you’ve missed an important date and the service is stopped.

You should always get a renewal notice for something like a domain name. The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) requires companies to send reminders approximately one month and one week before your domain name expires.

Don’t leave your renewal to the last minute. With expired domain names, for instance, you can lose your website! Options and fees for renewing domain names, including expired ones, are going to vary, so be sure you know what your subscription involves.

Also, there are bad actors out there who monitor domain expirations to buy them up at bargain prices. Then, when you notice the subscription has lapsed, you have to pay a king’s ransom to get the Web address back. Yes, it can happen to you. In fact, the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) handled a record 3,074 cybersquatting disputes last year.

Avoid being overwhelmed by all the subscriptions and service plans your business relies upon. A managed service provider (MSP) monitors your license and domain expiration dates to ensure your business is current. At the same time, the MSP has the expertise needed to determine what plans best suit your business needs.

Give us a call at (844) 4-SJPNET to enjoy the peace of mind a managed service provider brings!

With the world grappling with a health pandemic, scams are shocking. Regrettably, bad actors are everywhere, always looking for opportunities, and they’re seeing one in the coronavirus. This article outlines what you need to watch out for and how to stay cyber safe.

The last thing you want to read right now is that there’s another threat out there – sorry, but it’s true. Cybercriminals take advantage of fear. They take timely concerns and use them to target victims. Using the anxiety and upheaval around coronavirus is their mission.

So far, several coronavirus-related attempts to cyberscam people have been reported. There are examples of:

  • emails that appear to come from government health departments;
  • offering a tax refund to get people to click on malicious links;
  • memos to staff that appear to come from large employers;
  • COVID-19 test offerings from private companies;
  • fake websites promising to sell face masks or hand sanitizer;
  • soliciting donations to help fund a vaccine.

 

What to Watch Out For

Another concern is the number of bogus websites registered with names relating to COVID-19. The site can look legit but is set up to steal information or infect the victim’s computer with malware.

You may get an email promising the attached information offers coronavirus safety measures, or information shared by the World Health Organization (WHO) if you click on the link, or a similar email pretending to be from a reputable news source, such as the Wall Street Journal (WSJ).

In another example, an email impersonating a healthcare company’s IT team asked people to register for a seminar “about this deadly virus.” Anyone who didn’t question why IT was organizing the meeting clicked to register. By filling out the form, they gave their details to hackers.

What to Do

Be cautious. It’s understandable that you’re anxious, but don’t let that stop you from taking cyber precautions. You should still:

  • be wary of anything that tries to play on your emotions and urges immediate action;
  • question where emails are coming from – remain vigilant even if the communication appears to come from a reliable source;
  • hover over links before clicking them to see where they will take you – for example, in the WSJ example, the Web address was for the “worldstreetjournal”;
  • avoid downloading anything you didn’t ask for;
  • doubt any deals that sound too good to be true (“a mask that stops the virus 99.7% of the time!”);
  • ignore any communications requesting your personal information;
  • don’t be suckered by fraudulent pleas for charity.

Global health organizations generally do not send out emails with advice. Instead, navigate directly to that reputable health institution for real news.

If you’re still not sure about the validity of the communication, check it out. Do so by calling or using another medium to get in touch with the “source” of the received message.

While there is not yet a vaccine for COVID-19, you can put anti-virus protection on your computer. Also, make sure that you’ve applied all available security updates to keep your software safe.

We hope you’ll take care and stay healthy both physically and online in these tough times.

Need help installing security software and keeping your technology safe? Our Cybersecurity experts can give your home a tech immunization. Contact us today at (844) 4-SJPNET!

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