James Koole writes on the Tucows blog:
Domain name renewal schemes are nothing new – weÃ¢â¬â¢ve been dealing with them for years – but we figured it wouldnÃ¢â¬â¢t be a bad idea to bring them to your attention once again. A quick Google search brings up thousands of examples.
The usual tactic, known as domain slamming, is fairly basic – unethical companies mine WHOIS records for Registrant information and domain expiry dates. Then, months in advance, they contact the Registrant either by mail or email with a very official looking and sounding document or message that tells them to protect their valuable name by renewing early. A Google Images search brings up a couple of scanned examples.
To read all of James’ posting on the Tucows blog, see about.tucows.com/2008/02/07/beware-of-fake-domain-name-renewal-notices