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Beware of the Domain Name Registration Scam

Mar12

Written by:
2011/03/12 10:34 AM RssIcon

Online-Scams Scams. What people will do to extort money? How gullible are people to believe them? This is not new. This serves as a warning, a caution. Please beware of the “Domain Registration Scam

So everyone knows about the Nigerian 419 scam. Where they play on your greed. This scam now plays on your desire to protect your business intellectual property.

The scam email

This scam has been doing the rounds for a while. But like all scams they change the tactics, or the wordings. Most cases they change the mail domain name.

The worst thing you can do is reply and give the scammers a sense that you are concerned.

A colleague of mine received the following email and unfortunately replied to them before consulting with me. Fortunately he never parted with any money.

Subject: Notice of Intellectual Property-Trademark Name

Dear Manager:

We are a Network Service Company which is the domain name registration center in Anhui, China. On March,9th,2011, We received HUNDI Company's application that they are registering the name "risktherapy" as their Internet Trademark and "risktherapy.cn","risktherapy.com.cn" ,"risktherapy.asia"domain names etc.,It is China and ASIA domain names.But after auditing we found the brand name been used by your company. As the domain name registrar in China, it is our duty to notice you, so I am sending you this Email to check.According to the principle in China,your company is the owner of the trademark,In our auditing time we can keep the domain names safe for you firstly, but our audit period is limited, if you object the third party application these domain names and need to protect the brand in china and Asia by yourself, please let the responsible officer contact us as soon as possible. Thank you!

Kind regards

Angela Zhang

This mail and derivatives of it have been going around for years. Since before 2005.

Why do the scammers carry on trying to scam people. Well because gullible people so easily part with their money. A fool and his money are soon parted.

The scam

This is obviously a load of hog-wash. But these types of scams still catch people out.

Domain names can be purchased by anyone for websites and email (e.g. mybusiness.co.uk). There are many different domain name extensions available to purchase (e.g. .com, .net, .co.uk, .org.uk .tw .co.za, etc).

As you can imagine trying to buy all these extensions is an expensive endeavour. In many cases it is quite pointless.

It is possible for you to register mydomainname.com and someone else register the exact same name but with a .co.za, or .tw, or.cn, etc, extension.

You might be concerned about this, or not. But that depends on you as an individual and your business. But let me assure you, that unless you want a business presence in the countries that are represented by the domain extensions, there in no reason to be concerned.

Domain name scammers prey upon your fear that some other company is getting your name. Scammers prey upon the general ignorance and gullibility of most people and business owners when it comes to domain name registrations.

There are two popular types of scams regarding Domain Name Registration

Scam Number 1: The scare tactic

You will receive a telephone call, or an email from a domain registration company who will tell you that another company is about to buy all your domain names.

There are a number of variations to this. At the end of the day it is all a load of rubbish.

Registering a domain name nowadays is an almost instant process. No-one will be "notified" that you are trying to register a domain name. If someone tries to register integralwebsolutions.com I will never be notified. Although I can contest it at a later stage, but that is also a fruitless exercise.

So, whenever you hear this kind of nonsense, be assured it is a scam.

The scammers will want your credit card details. In all likelihood they will register the names. But you will have been charged way over the average price for domains that you probably never needed.

They might also charge to register domain names for extended periods, eg 10 years. But in fact only register it for one year, but by the time you find out it’s too late.

Scam Number 2: The renewal transfer

You will receive an official looking renewal notice from a company purporting to be your domain name registrar.

In most cases, their online renewal forms are set up in such a  way that when you submit, the renewal request is changed to a transfer request. Unknown to you.

The scammers will then attempt,  and in many cases be successful, to transfer your domain name to them.

Once they have your domain, they can charge you pretty much whatever they like to get the domain name back into your hands.

How to avoid being scammed

Take note of these points to avoid being scammed

  1. Never give your credit card details to any unknown or un-trusted company.
  2. Avoid doing business with people who send unsolicited emails or faxes or make unsolicited phone calls.
  3. Once you have registered your domain name, return to the same registrar for renewals and any changes.
  4. Domain names are registered instantly - no other company is informed of the registration and no-one can intervene with the registration process.
  5. Domain names can be registered cheaply, quickly and easily online, you do not necessarily need an agent to register one for you. Although it is often times easier to let an agent register one for you. But always use a trusted, well known source.
  6. Owning a trademark or company name does not automatically entitle you to the matching domain names. You can obviously contest this. But its a long and expensive legal process.
  7. It is not possible to "earmark" or reserve a domain name. You either buy it or you don’t. You can park a domain name, but it still belongs to you, and you still have to pay for it.
  8. DON'T send money to companies you have never heard from before without first checking them out.
  9. Always do your own research first, or contact your current provider and ask them to do one for you.
  10. Never rush into anything.

Have you ever been scammed? Where you ever caught out? Do you know of anyone that has?

Hope this has been informative to you. Please pass this post on to your friends and family and business colleagues as a message of warning.

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