Domain Dispute Scam – Local Businesses and Domain Owners beware!

Just spreading the word about an email scam I received several (hundreds of) times over the past 2 years. I was made aware that a lot of people still dont understand that this is a scam, designed to alarm the user that another company (generally in the Asian territory) is trying to register domains with the company’s names.

Say one has the domain www.itnews.com.mt – a typical email would contain the below:

Dear CEO / CTO,

We are a professional intellectual property rights consultant organization based in HongKong, we have an important issue to confirm with you.

1. On Apr. 18, 2011, one company named Kring Investment LLC applied for the following Domain Names with our organization.

  • itnews.net.cn
  • itnews.tm
  • itnews.com.sa
  • itnews.my
  • itnews.bh

2. During our preliminary investigation, we found that these Domain Names’ keyword is identical with your Trade Mark, this is why we inform you.

3. I wonder whether did you consigned Kring Investment LLC to register these Domain Names with us?

4. If you do not have any relationship with this applicant, we assume that they have other purposes to obtain these Domain Names.

Currently, we have already postponed this company’s application. Please let the relevant principal make a confirmation with me ASAP.

Thanks & Regards,

Angus Luo
Tel :  +852 65170 438
Fax :  +852 30696 940
E-Mail :  angus@bestweb-hk.com
Homepage:  www.bestweb-hk.com

The dead giveaway in such a scam was that contacting them to ask for the prices of these domains , they will get back to you with exorbitant domain prices in the range of 400 to 500USD per domain!

Mind you, they do also have a backup plan. If you email them back and let them know that you are not interested, they try to give the last push to make you worry about the safety of your company’s image…

Thank you for your confirmation.

But I have to remind you that maybe they want to use these fields that domains represent to imitate your webpage, use false ads to cheat your clients, or develop an illegal website. Don’t you think what they do will damage your profits? Therefore, I suggest that you should protect these intangible assets, but we won’t demand you to do anything. As a domain name registrar, we have made preparation. We will pass that company’s registration within 48 hours. Once they sucessfully register them, we will not be involved in any problem about intellectual property and trademark dispute. If you still decide to give up these domains, so nothing we can do.

Best regards,

Angus

That does sound scary, but in all honesty – why would anyone bother to go through the hassle of registering an asian domain to represent your company, create a cloned website etc… just to harm your reputation – sounds like a long shot to me.

Solutions:

  • If you receive such email – delete it immediately, don’t engage in a conversation.
  • Check the email sender address : if it’s coming from a hotmail, yahoo or gmail address, there’s definately something wrong!
  • If you are worried about losing such domains, go through a reputable domain registrar and register the domains there.

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