Understanding and Avoiding Chinese Domain Name Scams
Recently in 2013, restrictions concerning the registration of Chinese domain names were lifted, allowing people to register a .CN domain name as easily as they could anywhere else in the world. As a result, many legitimate domain providers throughout China and abroad began buying up domain names in order to redistribute them for a profit. Now many of these providers are encouraging businesses throughout the world to register a .CN domain for their brand, and while this recent boom has allowed plenty of legitimate businesses to grow as domain providers in China, it has also given rise to an alarming number of domain name scams conducted via email.
This scam has victimized both large and small business owners in Vancouver and around the world by playing on people’s fears of having their brand and intellectual property exposed to foreign exploitation. The scam works when a so-called domain registry company in China sends what seems like an official email claiming to offer a “brand protection package” to unsuspecting business owners. Below, you will find a copy of the email that was sent to us here at Stigan Media, trying to get us to pay for .CN and other domains from countries in Asia before some other company does.
Except for a few phrasing mistakes, which can easily be blamed on the translator, the email seems relatively professional and straightforward. An unsuspecting business owner or employee may simply wish to nip a potential problem in the bud, and respond to the email by saying their company did not authorize the registration of those names, which is exactly what the people behind the scam want. After you deny giving permission, you are likely to get a reply like this one:
Now this is where the scammer starts to try and rip you off. The list of domains they provide you with may very well be legitimate, but the provider you are currently dealing with is definitely not. After receiving this email, we decided not to pursue the matter further, since after a bit of research, we discovered many other companies who received emails like this, all of which were from illegitimate domain providers. How do we know they were illegitimate? The first reason is the manner in which these companies continue to threaten and harass you into paying them for their service. They set up phony deadlines for you to register your ‘brand protection package’ before they are forced to sell it to the third party they reference in their initial email. If you let this deadline come and go, then search for your domain names with an ICANN Accredited Registrar, you are almost certain to see that they haven’t been sold at all. While searching for the domains with a legitimate registrar, you will also notice that the prices and terms offered by the scammers are far more than those offered by the accredited registrar.
To avoid becoming a victim of this quick cash scam, remember to keep an eye out for similar signs to the ones we described and showed in the emails above. If you are ever unsure of the legitimacy of a company you receive an email from, don’t ever send any of your personal or private business information before you confirm they are legitimate. To find out more about scams like these and how a full service digital marketing firm like Stigan Media can help you avoid being victimized by them, feel free to explore our website, or contact us directly. You can also follow us via Twitter and Facebook to receive our latest updates and other helpful tips.