Beware of Domain Scams

I while ago I got an email from a client. She was smart enough to forward it to me first rather than just act on the email. Based on years of experience online and working as a web professional, I automatically assumed it was a scam. A quick bit of research confirmed it.

Here is what the email she received looked like:

Dear Manager:
We are a Network Service Company which is the domain name registration center in Shanghai, China. On September,10th,2010, We received HUATAI Company’s application that they are registering the name “XXXXXXXXXXXXX” as their Internet Trademark and
“xxxxxxxxxxxxx.cn”,”xxxxxxxxxxxxxx.com.cn” ,”xxxxxxxxxxxxx.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

Basically, this is just a spam attempt at getting you to buy domains through this company. If you don’t do business in China, then it’s not an issue for you. And personally, I don’t do any business with any organization that uses spam as a means to sell something. To me, that tells me they are either
a. not trustworthy
b. don’t know what they are doing
c. both.

Worst case, they may be hoping you’ll send them information so they can log into your account and take your domain. In other words: a phishing attempt.

One thing you can do to help in case someone does accidentally hand that information out: lock your domain. Your registrar should have this as an option. Basically, it means that if someone tries to transfer your domain away from your registrar, you will get an email with a code and that domain can only be moved if someone enters that code into your account on your domain registrar’s website.

Other common domain scams involve emails that look like they are from your domain registrar, but are not actually from them. The emails may even have logos from a popular domain registrar. If you aren’t sure if it is from your registrar or not, go to your domain registrar’s site, log in, and check for any account messages and check your domain’s expiration date. NOTE: Do not click the link in the email in an attempt to see if that is really from your registrar or not.

Also, not all scammers use email. You may also get phone calls or letters via postal mail about your domain as well.

Learn more about about domain scams:

10 tips to prevent domain scam/fraud from WebHosting Talk
What’s Dot and What’s Not: Domain Name Registration Scams from the FTC

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