What If Your Domain Name Got Stolen

Domain theft is happening in the world of domains and is becoming more rampant than ever before. People steal domain names that have good market value. Some domain names are worth millions of dollars. A domain thief or hacker will steal a domain name for the sole aim of selling it to another person or ask for huge ransom to give it back to you, and some will redirect it to another website.

What if your domain name got stolen from you despite all the security measures you put in place to protect it from hijackers. First, there are certain things you need to understand about domain name ownership. If your domain name expires because you fail to renew it, and someone else bought it, that is not a domain theft. If you think it is, then it's called legal domain theft. That is why you should never allow your domain to expire.

If you found out that your domain name has been taken away from you by a hijacker even though it is yet to expire, then you should make effort to get it back. It is not going to be easy. You may succeed and you may not. But it is better to try and than not to try.

The first step take is to take when someone steals your domain name is to find how did it happen. Most domain name hijacking is as a result of hacking into the administrative email for that domain control panel. A hijacker will know the administrative email address for that domain name which is usually available on whois if you haven’t gotten whois privacy. Once he knows the email, he tries all means to hack into it, so that when he initiates a domain transfer, he can easily authorize it when a domain transfer authorization message is sent to the email.

What should this teach you? That you should secure your email account. That is why you should use a two-step (two-factor) authentication if available for both your email and domain control panel. And if possible use a whois privacy for your domain name.

If your domain name has been stolen, change the password of your email address and that of your domain name CPanel. This is just damage control as the harm has already been done. But it prevents further harm if you have other domain names.

After doing all of that, contact your registrar. Some registrars are ever willing to help than others. That is why before choosing a domain name registrar, you should know more about their customer support and also if they are reliable and trusted.

Some domain names are also stolen as a result of backend hijacking of the registrar but whatever the situation that must have caused the hijacking, you should make sure your registrar is aware. Give them relevant details and complete any necessary paperwork provided. You should file a police report if the theft took place within your country. But if the theft took outside your country, contact a domain name attorney who will be in a better position to give the best advice.

The main aim of domain thief is to sell the domain name, so you should set up Google alert for that your domain name so that anywhere it is mentioned, you will be notified. If it has been listed for sale, contact the auction site with proof that it is a stolen domain name. You can contact domain bloggers to help you publicize that the domain name has been stolen and shouldn’t be bought.

Like I said earlier, getting back your domain name won’t be easy. Some registrars may refuse to transfer back your domain. I believe these registrars do harbor domain thieves because I see no reason why a domain shouldn’t be returned when it has been proven to be a stolen property. If your registrar can’t help to recover your domain name as a result of the other registrar unwilling to cooperate, then you should follow what is written on ICANN registrar transfer dispute resolution policy. Read it carefully as it may help in getting back your domain name but that is if you have registered your name with an ICANN accredited registrar.

Prevention is better than cure. Don’t wait till your domain name is stolen before you learn how to protect it.

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