How to Avoid Scams When Buying a Domain Name

How to Avoid Scams When Buying a Domain Name


You’ve finally decided to start that website you’ve been dreaming about for years. Congrats! The next step is to buy a domain name. But before you hand over your hard-earned cash, there are a few things you need to know about buy a domain and hosting to avoid being scammed. 


Domain name scams are more common than you might think. These scams usually follow the same pattern: someone contacts you out of the blue (often via email), offering to sell you a domain name for an exorbitant price. They might even claim that the domain is about to expire and offer it to you at a “discounted” rate. If you’re not careful, you could easily end up paying hundreds or even thousands of dollars for a worthless domain. Sounds pretty terrible, right? Luckily, there are some easy ways to avoid these scams. 


Here are four things to look out for when vetting a domain seller:

1. Check the Whois records.

The Whois database is a public directory of information about registered domains. When you perform a Whois lookup on a domain, it will show you who owns the domain and how to contact them. This is valuable information because it allows you to confirm that the person selling you the domain is actually the owner. 


If the seller refuses to give you this information or tries to deflect your questions, that’s a huge red flag. Move on and find another seller. 


2. Avoid domains with a shady history. 

Just like houses, domains can have histories that make them less desirable (and valuable). You can use tools like Wayback Machine and Domaintools Whois History to see how a domain has been used in the past and whether it has any red flags associated with it. 

For example, let’s say you’re interested in purchasing the domain “” A quick Whois History check reveals that this domain was previously associated with several websites selling counterfeit goods—not exactly what you want your brand-new website to be associated with! In this case, it would be best to steer clear and find another domain name. 


3. Don’t pay more than the market value. 

In general, domains shouldn’t cost more than a few hundred dollars. If someone is trying to sell you a domain for hundreds or even thousands of dollars, they’re probably trying to scam you. Of course, there are always exceptions to this rule (like premium domains that have been around for years), but in general, if a deal seems too good (or too bad) to be true, it probably is. 

When in doubt, consult an expert—like the team at Metric Marketing—to help you determine whether or not a particular domain is worth its asking price. 


4. Don’t give away personal information.

One of the most common scams is phishing, where a scammer pretends to be a legitimate company in order to steal your personal information (like credit card numbers or passwords). Be wary of any seller who asks for sensitive information, and always make sure you’re on a secure website (look for the “https” at the beginning of the URL) before entering any personal information. 



Buying a domain name doesn’t have to be complicated or risky—as long as you know what to look out for! By following these simple tips, you can avoid being scammed and end up with a domain name that’s both valuable and perfect for your new website. Happy hunting!

Category Business

Skye Marshall

Ivy Skye Marshall: Ivy, a social justice reporter, covers human rights issues, social movements, and stories of community resilience.