If you get an email like this, hit the delete button.
Let’s take a quick look at a common domain name scam that is very effective. I know it’s effective because over the past year I’ve received e-mails from smart friends who are CEOs of companies here in Austin asking if these emails are legitimate.
The scam is a trademark scam, where a company emails you saying someone is trying to register domains that include your trademark, and wants to offer you the chance to register them first. Sometimes they are sent based on trademarks registered with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and other times they are based on other business filings.
The emails typically come from a company purported to be in Hong Kong and are written in broken English. Some recent ones I’ve seen use the company names Asian Internet Domains Register Dept and Hong Kong Network Service Company Limited.
Here are examples of two of the e-mails, including one I received just this morning about one of my trademarks. If you receive an e-mail like this, don’t take the bait.
We are Hong Kong Network service Company Limited, a domain name registration center in Asia.
Yesterday we received an application from another company for the domain names “[trademark]â€ , but later we found your company is their original owner and this may involve your company name or trademark and this may cause confusion between your products and others’ , and bring about negative effect on your company.Therefore we decided to inform you of this and check out your attitude toward this matter. We would appreciate if you can spare some precious time to settle this issue.
Thank you for your cooperation and looking forwards to your early reply.
From: Alva.Huang [mailto:Alva.Huang]
Subject: [trademark] -Intellectual property rights(To CEO)
We are a domain name registrar centre in HongKong, and in charge of the registeration in Asia,We have something important need to confirm through your company. We received a formal application from a company called “SafNetwork Service holdings LLC” applying to register Inetnet brand name: [trademark]
And the domain names:
in Asia on Oct.,20,2008.
During our auditing procedure we find out that the alleged “SafNetwork Service holdings LLC” has no trademark, Intellectual property, nor patent even similar to that word. as an authoritative registration organization, we have the duty to inform you this matter. If you do not know this company, we doubt that they have other aims to buy these domain names.
Now we have not finished the registration of SafNetwork Service holdings LLC yet, in order to deal with this issue better, please let someone who is responsible for trademark or domain name contact me as soon as possible.
Kevin Jackson says
I have gotten a few of these emails in the past. As you said, it is better to just ignore/delete them.
These extensions really do not pose any credible threat to a business that is branded on the dot COM.
Michael McBride says
My favorite of all these scams is one I received a few weeks ago indicating that the sender owned ALL the domain names and was willing to sell one of mine back to me.
Premium Generics says
I have seen this same type of email arrive based on other domain registrations (rather than TM or biz filings).
For example: Hong Kong company offered me GoldMines.asia b/c I own AsiaGoldMines.com
Rob Sequin says
F*%$ing Chinese. I’ve gotten those before, told them what I thought of their business model then they listed the domain on sedo.
Michael Kassing says
You are not the only one who has gotten questions. We get inundated with questions from both clients and lawyers. The Chinese have figured out how to do the Corporate Minute scam on domain names and trademarks.
I have seen this for a few years.
Delete and Forget!
le dunn says
I have not received this message in my In box.
I would suggest that before you delete the message that you forward it the Hong Kong Police Cyber Crime Division at firstname.lastname@example.org or Interpol technology crime division
You idiots – these scams originate in the US – instead of blaming foreigners for all your own greed and societal ills – look in the mirror.
These scams are usually written by US or UK based individuals and then hired out to Asians or East Europeans for mailing.
Yupp. Thoroughly pissed off about this.
What’s sad is that im very cautious about emails in general (im great with computers). I came across the emailed, replied that the trademarks were fraudulent, and he replied back with my full name saying “He he…….. Thank you!”
Creeped out? Yes. Real threat to business? Not really. But still…argh.
@ Rob Sequin,
I thought that very same damn thing when I realized i had been duped. Damn Chinese indeed.
I got this email today. Funny!!
Dear Sir/ Madam
I’m sorry to disturb you so abrupt. We are a domain name registration service company in Asia,
On 12th October. we received a formal application submitted by Mr. John Zhang who wanted to use the keyword “israel-shalom” to register the Internet Brand and with suffix such as .cn /.com.cn /.net.cn /.hk /.asia / domain names.
After our initial examination, we found that these domain names to be applied for registration are same as your domain name and trademark. We aren’t sure whether you have any relation with him. Because these domain names would produce possible dispute, now we have hold down his registration, but if we do not get your company’s an reply in the next 5 working days, we will approve his application
As authorized anti-cybersquatting organization we hereby suspect Mr. John Zhang is a domain investor. so we need you to attach importance to this issue.
In order to handle this issue better, Please contact us by Fax ,Telephone or Email as soon as possible.
Yours sincerely 2010-10-13
Oversea Marketing Manager
No.38 YueLong road,NanTong City
I have collected the largest database of these scammers – 250 Chinese and around 900 email addresses they have used: Would be great if you could link to scam.europeandomaincentre.com in your post
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