Chinese Domain Name Scam

SMALL BUSINESS OWNERS BEWARE

I’m no expert on email scams, but when I received the following email I was weary. It sounded legit, and I couldn’t see any request for financial or other information, but something still didn’t ring as right. Here’s the message:

Dear Manager,

(If you are not the person who is in charge of this, please forward this to your CEO,Thanks)

This email is from China domain name registration center, which mainly deal with the domain name registration and dispute internationally in China and Asia. On January 10th 2012, We received Tianhua Ltd’s application that they are registering the name ” themixcreative ” as their Internet Keyword and ” themixcreative .cn “、” themixcreative .com.cn ” 、” themixcreative .asia “domain names etc.., they are 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 we are 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!

Best Regards,

John
General Manager
Shanghai Office (Head Office)
3002, Nanhai Building, No. 854 Nandan Road,
Xuhui District, Shanghai 200070, China
Tel: +86 216191 8696
Mobile: +86 136615 29704
Fax: +86 216191 8697
Web: www.ygnetworkltd.com

Here’s what felt wrong about this email:

  1. They sent it to my info@ account. A domain registrar search would have revealed my primary contact information, including my name and correct contact email.
  2. The person signed his name only as “John”. Why no last name?
  3. There were a few oddly-worded phrases.
  4. They were requesting an urgent action

Acting on these red flags, I selected the phrase “China domain name registration center” and “email scam” and did a quick Google search. Sure enough, I quickly found two other posts with nearly identically-worded emails out there. Try Googling it yourself.

So what’s the scam? I’m still not sure. But had I written back, I would have opened the door for supplying further information about myself that may have provided them with the seed they needed to grow the true scandal. Perhaps it would do as little as getting them past my spam filter.

Should I be worried about my domain? Well, according to the blog, sleeplessmedia.com, this email does not read as a typical domain notice. As they state in their article: “Notifications regarding your domain name will come directly from your domain registrar that provides your domain name for you (i.e., Namecheap.com, GoDaddy.com, etc.).  These domain related notices are usually going to be reminders that you need to renew soon or that you need to confirm your contact information that is tied to your domain.  Read these types of domain notices carefully—and take precautions like logging in directly via your domain provider’s website and not by clicking on a link in the email.  But also be reassured that these notifications are usually safe.”

So there you go: a word of caution. As business owners, we’re going to be hit with quite a few scams over time. It’s our job to be skeptical of emails from companies or people we don’t know and trust our gut feelings when something doesn’t feel right.

 

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