As many of you know – earlier this year a great domaining resource was released – DomainTheft.org. This site has served as a central repository of stolen domains and theft reports from domainers eager reclaim their digital real estate.
Well, 2008 is almost over and domain theft is on the rise. So how can you avoid having your domain stolen by a "potential buyer".While there are many different ways to keep your domain safe, it is important to look at how the majority of thefts happen. Luckily, the answer to this is much easier than some might expect – avoid Pay Pal. This may seem like a fairly broad statement but Pay Pal theft represents over 50% of the thefts reported through DomainTheft.org. That's right – a majority of domains are stolen through simple Pay Pal policies that protect the buyer. So how does this kind of theft happen? Here's a good example:You receive an offer for a domain you are trying to sell through a forum. The user tells you that they need to pay with Pay Pal or no deal. Eager to sell your domain you decide to move-forward with this – but to protect yourself you ask for payment first. You receive the payment and think you've just protected yourself from Domain Theft and transfer your domains to the "buyer". Once the domains transfer you receive an email from Pay Pal. The buyer has told Pay Pal that they never authorized the payment and someone hacked their account. In a matter of minutes the money leaves your account and *POOF* your domains are gone. While you can email Pay Pal all you want it's time to face the facts – your domain has been stolen. Luckily there are some things you can do to get your domain back. First – report the theft on DomainTheft.org – this will prevent people from buying the domain as potential buyers will see that it is stolen. Next – contact your registrar – tell them what happened and get them to try to transfer the domains back to you. If you use a reputable registrar like Fabulous or Moniker they will fight on your behalf and *can* get your domain back. Just remember – you have to be vigilant.The mistake most domainers make is going after Pay Pal. This is the wrong approach. Pay Pal protects the buyer – *not* the seller. They will not hear your cries for help and will only make you more frustrated. So keep your domains safe and avoid Pay Pal. Anyone that really wants to "Buy" your domain will be happy to use Escrow for the purchase. Split the fees and help keep your domains safe!