Possible domain name transaction fraud

20 replies
Hello Warriors,

I've recently started selling domain names and just today I received an email from a lawyer interested in buying one of my domains for a quantity of money I find acceptable for the domain name.

However the email comes from a generic @gmail.com account.

I know that if there really was a transaction it should be through escrow.com but should I be careful with any other details?

What would you fellow warriors do to advance in this situation cautiously?

Best regards,
Gerardo.
#domain #fraud #transaction
  • Profile picture of the author starrychloe
    Plenty of small lawyers use Gmail for their email. Use escrow as you mentioned, try to speak with them over the phone, and don't accept paper checks that can bounce after 2 weeks.
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  • Profile picture of the author onSubie
    There is a scam that starts like this so be wary.

    1) You are contacted by someone who wants your domain and offers a decent price
    2) Before they buy they require you get a paid valuation for the site from company X
    3) After you pay a couple hundred dollars for the evaluation, the "buyer" disappears

    So if they make an offer but want you to pay for a service like a website valuation then stay away, you are being scammed.
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    • Profile picture of the author mktmaverick
      [DELETED]
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      • Profile picture of the author Clintin
        Anyone that ask for you to pay for a valuation is fake and once you pay you will never hear from them again.
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        l

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    • Profile picture of the author mktmaverick
      Originally Posted by onSubie View Post

      There is a scam that starts like this so be wary.

      1) You are contacted by someone who wants your domain and offers a decent price
      2) Before they buy they require you get a paid valuation for the site from company X
      3) After you pay a couple hundred dollars for the evaluation, the "buyer" disappears

      So if they make an offer but want you to pay for a service like a website valuation then stay away, you are being scammed.
      That was exactly what happened onSubie, thank you for posting that, I avoided that mistake. I will post details here so if anyone else is approached with this contact information can avoid it. the gmail address which emailed me was: tld.domain.name.attorney@gmail.com

      "My client offers $25000. How can he send the money to you? My client usually uses an escrow service.

      Before my client buys he will need two things from you:

      1. Screenshot of your domain account. It will prove you are a legitimate owner.

      2. Domain certification from Domain Tools. (Link removed)

      This certificate includes two essential things: an appraisal of the market price and a trademark infringement verification.

      My client is an experienced investor and he buys certified domains only to avoid potential risks with trademarks and overpriced/stolen domains. So simple certificates from GoDaddy or Sedo do not suit the needs of my client. Before he send the money he needs a complete certification with a valuation and a trademark infringement verification.

      Please send the screenshot and the certificate to my email."

      Crisis averted!
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      • Profile picture of the author DubDubDubDot
        Originally Posted by mktmaverick View Post

        2. Domain certification from Domain Tools. (Link removed)
        Domain Tools is legitimate. They wouldn't be a part of a variant of the appraisal scam. I would normally say they have an affiliate program and the scammer is pushing traffic at that, but I don't see an affiliate program there.

        Are you sure this is the actual Domain Tools? If so (and if they really don't have an affiliate program) then you have to leave open the possibility that the buyer is seriously asking for that. In which case I would politely tell them to purchase the services themselves and do their own research.
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        • Profile picture of the author mktmaverick
          Originally Posted by DubDubDubDot View Post

          Domain Tools is legitimate. They wouldn't be a part of a variant of the appraisal scam. I would normally say they have an affiliate program and the scammer is pushing traffic at that, but I don't see an affiliate program there.

          Are you sure this is the actual Domain Tools? If so (and if they really don't have an affiliate program) then you have to leave open the possibility that the buyer is seriously asking for that. In which case I would politely tell them to purchase the services themselves and do their own research.
          Dub,

          The link they wanted me to follow is: http://tools.digital-certificates.net/cert.htm
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          • Profile picture of the author DubDubDubDot
            Originally Posted by mktmaverick View Post

            Dub,

            The link they wanted me to follow is....
            Unfortunately it's going to be the appraisal scam.

            Info in the whois:
            Thomas Smerdon
            11 High Street
            Stoke
            Hamdon
            TA14 6PP
            United Kingdom
            +44.1935824917
            info@dncertificates.com

            His domains include:
            digital-certificates.net
            dncertificates.com
            domain-certificates.com
            namereport.net


            Discussion of him actually goes back to 2009 on this forum:
            http://www.warriorforum.com/main-int...-not-fall.html


            Drop an email to abuse@godaddy.com since he is hosted there. Might be able to put him on the run.
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            • Profile picture of the author mktmaverick
              Originally Posted by DubDubDubDot View Post

              Unfortunately it's going to be the appraisal scam.
              Well, hopefully some real buyers will email next time

              Thanks for the help Dub
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  • Profile picture of the author Jack Gordon
    Search the forum for the term "appraisal scam" for all the info you could want on this subject.

    Most likely, that is what is happening.

    Perhaps, if you would like to share the actual wording of the email here (but delete any personal info and the domain itself) we can quickly confirm it for you.



    Edit: never mind, I see you just did it. Congrats on avoiding the headache!
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    • Profile picture of the author mktmaverick
      Thank you Jack, I just posted the last email in the thread. It seems it was exactly that scam situation. It was good I came to the forum first.
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  • Profile picture of the author Mo Goulet
    I had a conversation with PayPal and they basically stated that there is no danger using PayPal for Domain name sales. I just did one last week and I told the purchaser I only use PayPal and since the domain is registered to me, they are guaranteed to win a dispute if I do not transfer the name to them. The same works for the seller. There is no chance that PayPal will honor a dispute when you can show the name was properly transferred. Escrow companies want to make it complicated. If someone wants your domain name, use PayPal. I never provide evaluations BTW.
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    • Profile picture of the author DubDubDubDot
      Originally Posted by Mo Goulet View Post

      I had a conversation with PayPal and they basically stated that there is no danger using PayPal for Domain name sales.
      PayPal is blowing smoke up your ass.

      There has been enough drama involving PayPal in domain sales to recognize that it isn't as safe as they are telling you. I'm not saying don't use it though. Tons of domain transactions are done every day over PayPal.

      But when you get up into 4 figures range (and the domain isn't junk that you otherwise will never sell) and the buyer is unfamiliar, you've really got to strongly consider using a sales platform with escrow services (Sedo, Escrow.com, GoDaddy, etc...).
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  • Profile picture of the author BLakTi
    Hello there,
    Just thought i'd briefly share my similar experience ...
    In the last year or two I've accrued 70 some domains and dove head first into blindly teaching myself the ins n outs of buying and selling domains, cashparking etc ... and,
    to say the least, I've spent hundreds of hours, thousands of dollars, and not even had a single bid on a domain, and made upwards of $2.00-$3.00 altogether with cashparking... Needless to say I am more than a bit frustrated, and I'd like to share a couple experiences that led me to feeling almost altogether defeated ....
    For one, when i was buying my domains over the last year or two, al these new extensions were emerging, and i just so happened to step into this brand new world that is being born as we speak ... and in an attempt to be savvy and witty, many of the domain ideas i thought of were business names of larger corporations....
    When i was making some of my purchases, Godaddy would sometimes say that these domains were going to be under review for a certain number of days, to basically make sure that I wouldn't be infringing on any trademarks in purchasing them ... and, although some domains were indeed denied from me attaining them, most of them were said by godaddy to be A okay for me to take away ... so, naturally i thought i was safe as can be, and i was really excited about many of my domains purchased as when searching i had noticed that most of the larger corporations had already bought up the new extensions which i was seeking, so i thought for sure that i must be sitting on some REALLY VALUABLE domains .... so, understandably i was rather taken back when i got my first lawsuit form Corning Pyrex and they not only took my domain from me but caused quite a rift in my livelihood ...
    Fortunately nothing like that has happened since ... but, to my "Real" point of writing on your Thread here, My first and only offer was an email that I got from a broker, said to be representing a client with $492,000 to invest, offering me $10,000 for one of my DOT ESTATE domains... and short story long, he led me through some hoops, got me to purchase an appraisal and trademark check, and list my domains on DNCERTIFICATES DOT COM, and immediately after just vanished into thin air .... and although this was around 4-6 months ago, it sounds like a remotely slightly different version of the same exact story that you'd told ... so, just my 2 cents,... sad to say though that thee other day, i was so distraught, helplessly watching and seeing so many of my epic domains coming up for renewal, and expiring as we speak, that i went back through old emails and found that website just to desperately persue further investigation of their worthiness in hopes that i might be able to spend a few of my last dollars on one big email blast, or access to their domains wanted page,,, and thats how i stumbled across this forum, which seems pretty cool actually ... so u just might be seeing more of me on here, if i can manage to afford the time that is ....
    On that note, i thought I might as well let it be known that i am still seeking any and all pointers and tidbits of advice available, as far as where to share and post my most awesome as well as cheap'O domains ... so, if u can offer up ANY advice, pointers, or suggestions of any sort at all .. .. ... any and every lil thing will be greatly appreciated my friend
    Thanx for sharing and likewize allowing me to do the same ... apologies for my oober-long post here .. .. .. :/ LoL
    Aloha^
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    • Profile picture of the author DubDubDubDot
      Originally Posted by BLakTi View Post

      when i got my first lawsuit form Corning Pyrex and they not only took my domain from me but caused quite a rift in my livelihood ...
      Talk more about this Corning lawsuit.

      What exactly happened with this?
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    • Profile picture of the author mktmaverick
      Hello Blakti,

      Thanks for sharing your experience. I actually replied back to the person and told him if this was a real offer because it sure seemed like a scam. He didn't write back after that.

      About the domain names, I bought a bunch of domain names myself in the last 2 months, most I believe have great potential, I didn't took the trademark path out of fear of difficulty selling them. I too haven't received offers, but then again I only have them set up in SEDO. From my experience with marketing, not domain names, the real work is done in getting the product to the right buyer.

      So I don't have any experience at this domaining business, but I believe that my next step is to start building strategies to promote my domains. If you are interested in sharing some ideas you can send me a direct message, maybe we can help each other out in making the most from this investment in domains.

      Cheers.
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  • It's not an issue.

    I have many branded email addresses, yet I still use Gmail a lot (It's just simplier and faster)

    It's not a concern
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    • Profile picture of the author salegurus
      Originally Posted by selfdisciplineacademy View Post

      It's not an issue.

      I have many branded email addresses, yet I still use Gmail a lot (It's just simplier and faster)

      It's not a concern
      What are you talking about?
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      Think of how stupid the average person is, and realize half of them are stupider than that.

      ― George Carlin
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      • Profile picture of the author Kay King
        It's not an issue.
        Not if you only read the first post in a thread from last month - and ignore all the conversation after that.

        Geez.
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        that's why there are so many of us.
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