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Domain stolen while hosted at GoDaddy - HELP!

by Wood Loon / May 20, 2013 7:11 AM PDT
Short version: My locked domain name of ten years was, without my knowledge or permission, unlocked and transferred to someone in China.

Long version:

7/7/2003 - I registered a domain name (like 5BG.com) that has been parked at Go Daddy for ten years. Along with several other domains. Some have web sites, some don't.

My domain was set to automatically renew and I had checked the "locked" box.

Early 2013 - I was contacted by a company "5th Bride Games" that asked if I wanted to sell the domain. I responded once to say I'd think about it and how to set a price. Is this related to what happened next? I don't know, but maybe it is useful information for you to know.

5/7/13 - The domain was set to automatically renew in July and Go Daddy sent me an offer to "renew now and save 15%" or something like that.

5/12/13 6AM - Go Daddy sent me an email that I had requested the status of 5BG.com be changed to "unlocked" -
"You do not need to respond to this email. If, however, you think this change may have been made in error or fraudulently, please contact us within 15 days."

5/12/13 4PM - I sent a notice to Go Daddy -
* "When I look at my list of domains I do NOT see 5BG.com.
* I never gave permission for it to lapse or be transferred.
* Network Solutions lists another owner (Chinese, "owned since 7/7/2002" which is one day after I registered it).
* Please fix the problem and notify me."

5/17/13 - Go Daddy responded -
"Although we requested that the current registrar reinstate you as the registrant, they have indicated that they will not assist with the return of the domain name(s). As the losing registrar, we no longer have control over the domain name(s). Likewise, any ICANN transfer is the responsibility of the gaining registrar. Therefore, you will need to contact the current registrar if you feel the transfer was handled improperly.
Any dispute over the registration of the domain name(s) will need to be sent to the registrant, current registrar, through an ICANN-approved arbitration provider (http://www.icann.org/en/dndr/udrp/approved-providers.htm) or the local court system.
Regards,Alex H, Transfer Disputes, Go Daddy"

What can I do?
Can any third party unlock any domain and transfer it away from the original owner?
What is my recourse?

For anyone interested in more details -
* I am keeping the actual domain name private because I am nervous this post might trigger complexities in resolving this
* The "like 5BG" was an abbreviation for another domain "like 5 Bright Girls" that failed to get funded, but I've held onto the domain names just in case
Answer This Ask For Clarification
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All Answers

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you might forget to renew your domain
by Carl_Steinhart / May 26, 2013 7:01 PM PDT

the domain cannot be stolen easily, dude,

The issue might happen because you forgot to renew the domain when it was expired and bad luck, someone just backdoor ordered your domain

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Agree with this explanation
by HelloGeek / June 27, 2013 5:07 PM PDT

Yes, Domain cant be stolen. You might forgot to renew it, it was expired and then other people purchase this domain.

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Domains cannot be stolen
by rex15 / June 16, 2013 3:58 PM PDT

Nobody can steal your domain, even if it is unlocked. You might have been scammed by the company that sent you the email asking if you wanted to sell. Did you respond to the Godaddy email about unlocking? If you hadn't unlocked it this is a red flag. Are you sure the 15% offer was from Godaddy? Some unscrupulous companies send bogus offers, pretending to offer renewal, when what they are doing is asking for authorisation to transfer your domain to them. The internet is full of thieves. Always check your domains regularly to ensure they are up to date and secure. Godaddy is a reliable provider. It wouldn't be their fault if your domain was transferred fraudulently, you would have to have done something to release it.

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Yes it is possible - it happened to me and others
by bclaggett / April 10, 2015 5:56 PM PDT

I had 7 domains transferred by Godaddy without my authorization to a third party that claimed the domains were theirs. Only because the other party was stupid enough to only change the email address, leaving my name and address intact as the domain registrant, was I able to get them back. It can and does happen. And Godaddy is usually worse than useless in helping you undo the situation. They just point to the their TOS and say "we're blameless".

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