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How to regain control of a domain name?

Hello, I have a client who had another developer build a website for them.  Apparently the other developer was wanted by the FBI, is on the run, and naturally cannot be reached any longer by any means we or the FBI have available.  😞  

 

Their registrar/email/hosting was all setup through GoDaddy, and fortunately, all the ownership fields on the whois lookup point to the correct business owners.  But no one has login information, as in, we have no idea what goDaddy account even set it up.  

 

How can we regain control of this domain, when the user who set it up is someone else and gone?  Any advice?

5 REPLIES 5
Retired
Not applicable

@DanSagmiller ,

 

So...... basically you say this guy was wanted by the FBI? Was it on hacking charges by any chance? And now you want advice on how to hack into an account?? 

 

I suggest you speak with the 'FBI' and get them to phone support!

As hacking an account is a criminal offence. ( something the FBI are good at actually).

So there are legal procedures that you would need to take.

 

If your client was the legal owner he / she would be able to simply phone up support, find account, then reset password. But support would require proof.

 

@Retired, thanks, but I wasn't asking for help 'hacking' into the account.  I was just asking for assistance on what steps should be taken here.  Thank you for getting to that at the last sentence.  

 

For anyone facing similar, here are the exact steps.

Yes, call support.  Since we can dig up the last 8 digits from the CC that was used to setup the account, we can get it without ID.  Fortunately, this was our case.  Had we not been able to find that, we would have had to take a cell phone pic of the business owner's ID, and get that to support through an email/text number they would provide at the time.  But only because the correct business ID was entered for the whois details.

 

But back to the question

I tried to keep the questioning vague, because I was looking for piece of mind for the future as well.  Suppose someone hires a dev to make them a web site.  That dev then setups up the domains, the hosting, email and website content.  If that dev dissapears, and the login to godaddy was their personal one, with hosting information for multiple clients/personal sites, we would not be able to have done this.  I.e. reclaim the account.  Then it would have become how to reclaim control of the domain name.  If the dev who set it, did not accurately describe the business ownership, in the WHOIS lookup, but used either their own name, or their own name hiding behind godaddy's service to hide the WHOIS behined their own name, my question would have been what steps would have been involved in retrieving it.  Especially if the reason we are reaching out, is because the domain hosting went out, and the business info doesn't exist except for similarities between domain name and business name.  

 

I had a couple conversations with a client looking to solve the lighter solution.  I was able to solve that on my own, but I'm looking for the general idea of next steps in situations like that.  So I can have an idea to discuss with the client prior to just saying I would head up resolving it.  Something so I can give clear steps to clients in the future who might be facing similar situations.  

 

So far it seems clear that contacting support is the best place to start, but I was hoping to ask  the community for examples of what processes you have to go through in specific.  So I can share with clients when the time comes.

 

 - Thanks.

 

 

Retired
Not applicable


@DanSagmiller wrote:

@Retired, thanks, but I wasn't asking for help 'hacking' into the account.  I was just asking for assistance on what steps should be taken here.  Thank you for getting to that at the last sentence.  

 

For anyone facing similar, here are the exact steps.

Yes, call support.  Since we can dig up the last 8 digits from the CC that was used to setup the account, we can get it without ID.  Fortunately, this was our case.  Had we not been able to find that, we would have had to take a cell phone pic of the business owner's ID, and get that to support through an email/text number they would provide at the time.  But only because the correct business ID was entered for the whois details.

 

But back to the question

I tried to keep the questioning vague, because I was looking for piece of mind for the future as well.  Suppose someone hires a dev to make them a web site.  That dev then setups up the domains, the hosting, email and website content.  If that dev dissapears, and the login to godaddy was their personal one, with hosting information for multiple clients/personal sites, we would not be able to have done this.  I.e. reclaim the account.  Then it would have become how to reclaim control of the domain name.  If the dev who set it, did not accurately describe the business ownership, in the WHOIS lookup, but used either their own name, or their own name hiding behind godaddy's service to hide the WHOIS behined their own name, my question would have been what steps would have been involved in retrieving it.  Especially if the reason we are reaching out, is because the domain hosting went out, and the business info doesn't exist except for similarities between domain name and business name.  

 

I had a couple conversations with a client looking to solve the lighter solution.  I was able to solve that on my own, but I'm looking for the general idea of next steps in situations like that.  So I can have an idea to discuss with the client prior to just saying I would head up resolving it.  Something so I can give clear steps to clients in the future who might be facing similar situations.  

 

So far it seems clear that contacting support is the best place to start, but I was hoping to ask  the community for examples of what processes you have to go through in specific.  So I can share with clients when the time comes.

 

 - Thanks.

 

 So you weren't pursuing a developer on the run by the FBI then? You also speak in the future tense as regards to "situations like that"

 

Let me put a hypothetical proposition. What if I as a developer built a site and my client refused to pay. if I were to refuse to do any more work on the site but my client from hell (good site clientsfromhell.net by the way) then sought advice on how to regain control of the site behind my back. Would it be ethical or even good business sense for godaddy to say yes, here you are? If indeed lawful. 

The only developers I have ever know disappear have been unpaid ones generally.

 

When forum members are given vague problems to go on, then it's very hard to be of any help. Unless you have more facts then some problems will remain so.

We forum members would be wise to choose carefully who we help out, and if unsure of good intention, should either ask for more detail, until we are, or walk away.


 

I can tell you that the OP has a valid issue/question.

 

I am currently in a situation where the developer stopped development of a site that I own the domain for.  Luckily for me, I was able to prove I owned the domain because I registered the domain myself and the whois data was verifiable as me.

 

The developers were paid, way too much in my opinion, and stopped development refusing to continue and did not deliver what was promised and paid for.

 

After 2 years of battling with them, I finally gave up and reclaimed my domain.

 

However, now I have an issue.  The files already there (paid for by me and rightfully mine) are still there.  I do not know if I purchase a hosting account if I will be able to access those files or not.  Right now the domain is just parked.

Similar situation.

 

Dev for a client that had previous employee set up domain registration through godaddy, employee left under bad circumstances and it is unclear as to what card is on file or account name in which domain is registered under.