Scammers and rip-off artists are everywhere on the Internet. The domain name business is no exception. Here are some tips to help you avoid being scammed while executing domain name transactions, and to prevent your domains from being stolen: Always verify that the seller you are buying a name from is the owner of the domain. There are scam artists who attempt to represent names for sale that they do not own. To verify a seller, make sure that you can write to the administrative contact email address listed in a domain's WHOIS information and get a response. By contacting the admin email address in the WHOIS information, you can verify that the seller is actually the person in control of the domain. Do a Google search on the email address listed in the WHOIS information for a domain that you are buying to see if any scam warnings pop up. It may also be helpful to search popular domain name forums and sales venues to see if the domain in question is listed for sale elsewhere. Never purchase a domain appraisal at the request of an unknown "buyer." There are widely perpetrated scams in which appraisal companies pose as highly-interested domain buyers ready to purchase your name for a great price, but first require you to order a paid appraisal from a company that they recommend. Don't fall for it. Pay attention to domain transfer notifications. An unauthorized third party can initiate a transfer for your domain and gain control of it if you ignore the domain transfer notices. ICANN rules state that if a domain transfer may proceed if it is not declined within five days of being started. So, make sure that you respond to all domain transfer notices, especially if you did not expect them. If your registrar offers it, use your domain lock to prevent unauthorized transfers of your domain. If your registrar doesn’t offer domain lock, consider moving your domain to a registrar that offers it. When in doubt, use a trusted escrow service provider to complete your transaction. Companies like Sedo.com and Escrow.com can act as a third party in domain transactions to handle payments and release the funds only upon a successful domain transfer. Beware of sellers who insist on payment methods such as Western Union, as you may have little recourse if they do not deliver the domain as promised. Keep your own WHOIS information up to date. An outdated email address can lead to a thief taking control of your domain. Invalid address or phone information can be reported to ICANN and/or your registrar, who may cancel your domain registration. If you are concerned about privacy, consider getting a post office box and a voicemail service to serve as your admin address and contact phone number. As a NamePros member you can keep up to date on the latest scams that target domain buyers and sellers by being involved with our community and reading the Warnings & Alerts section.