33 replies
There is a very disturbing domain scam which
has been circulating for quite some time, with
no let-up in sight.

It preys upon domain owners who are not particularly
savvy.

This is how the scam works. The scammer searches
for recently registered domain names. Let's say that
you registered MyTotallyAwesomeDomainName.com. The
scammer will then contact you by email with a message
similar to this:

========================================

Dear Domain Owner,

Our registrar is in the process of acquiring
MyTotallyAwesomeDomainNames.com. We are sending
this email to everyone who might benefit from
owning this domain.

If you are interested in buying MyTotallyAwesomeDomainNames.com,
you can make an offer here:
scammers-website.net/574392gbjutdt

After successful acquisition of the domain we will contact the
person with the highest offer.

Thank you for your time,

Sales Team,
Address,
City, State Zip


========================================

Do you notice what they're doing here? They are simply offering
you a domain name that is VERY similar to the one you just
registered.

They are asking you to make an offer on this "similar" domain
name.

They hope you won't notice that the domain they are offering
you is not yet registered!

Many people will fall for this scam without checking the
validity of the domain. They'll make an offer of maybe
a hundred dollars or more, and the scammer will THEN register
this domain for you and sell it to you for the price
you offered.

Naturally, the domain was available for you to register for
just $8 or $9 all along.

These scammers just mail thousands of these emails to everyone
they can, who has recently registered a new domain name.

They never owned the similar domain they're offering you. They
simply want to get you to make ANY offer better than their
registration cost.

Granted, they never claim to own the domain name. They
just tell you they are in the process of acquiring it. They just
hope you won't notice that it's not yet registered. That
qualifies as a scam in my book.

Gene
#alert #domain #scam
  • Profile picture of the author Tomwood
    Yes Gene this has been tried on me it's quite cunning really but you have to be pretty naive to fall for it
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  • Profile picture of the author masterjani
    Lot of time this happens,you need to be careful by seeing the clickable links in the mail
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  • Profile picture of the author Gene Pimentel
    It has nothing to do with "clickable links in the email". It has to do with the sender trying to con you into buying something they do not own.
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  • Profile picture of the author donnan
    Boy....it's amazing how people work out these scams.

    I wonder if it's a special sort of mind that thinks these up or whether they are just naturally deceptive persons?

    Thanks for the heads-up.
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    • Profile picture of the author GlobalTrader
      I have had similar scam offers indicating they were interested in purchasing our domain and after doing a little research found others had received the same exact email. Turns out they insist on using an appraisal service which happens to be their's for which they want you the seller to pay for the bogus appraisal for a domain they have absolutely no interest in buying.
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      GlobalTrader

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      • Profile picture of the author suemax
        Originally Posted by GlobalTrader View Post

        I have had similar scam offers indicating they were interested in purchasing our domain and after doing a little research found others had received the same exact email. Turns out they insist on using an appraisal service which happens to be their's for which they want you the seller to pay for the bogus appraisal for a domain they have absolutely no interest in buying.
        I have had a lot of this flavour. I have a lot of domains, so they have been hammering away at me quite a lot! I have taken NO notice, so hopefully they will stop after a while, until the next one starts I guess.....
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  • Profile picture of the author txconx
    On more than one occasion, these types of e-mails have made me aware that the dot-com version of a domain name I own in the dot-net extension is available, then I pick it up on the drop. Very nice of them to alert me. LOL

    I recently got over 10 e-mails about the same name. I picked it up, then turned around and e-mailed all the spammers, offering to sell them the domain name. Hey - maybe they had a live buyer on the line and I could make a quick deal. I never heard from any of them.
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  • Profile picture of the author wanna-succeed
    At least these scames don't claim you have a dead relative in Nigeria who left you 154,284,934$ for you to claim...
    Signature

    No sig, good day m8...

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    • Profile picture of the author Gene Pimentel
      Originally Posted by wanna-succeed View Post

      At least these scames don't claim you have a dead relative in Nigeria who left you 154,284,934$ for you to claim...
      Those are obvious scams. This one is not so obvious, and much easier to get 'taken'.
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      • Profile picture of the author M Thompson
        Gene, educate me please!

        Firstly what is the scam? I assume they try to charge you for a domain that is dropping then buy it and transfer it to you ..they pay $9 you pay $$$$...

        secondly I've had 3 of these for a domain I own the .net for

        Looking at the registrar info it is pending deletion.. (on-hold (pending delete)) it shows that the last change is 31st jan..

        I assume that on the 5th jan it will be available to buy again.... so how to I give myself a chance of getting the .com?
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        • Profile picture of the author Gene Pimentel
          M,

          The scam is, they are selling you something they do not own. They hope you'll offer them hundreds for a domain that is readily available for you to register yourself.

          This is not to be confused with legitimate services that use their resources and time to work on acquiring a domain for you that is still owned by someone (even if it is dropping).

          To answer your other question, if the WHOIS info shows the term "pending delete", that means it is in the last phase of its life, and will be available for anyone to register within 5 days. If it is a desirable domain with perceived value, chances are it will be snapped up by a domain backorder service the moment it becomes available.

          You can use services like NameJet.com to backorder a domain that is likely to drop.

          Originally Posted by M Thompson View Post

          Gene, educate me please!

          Firstly what is the scam? I assume they try to charge you for a domain that is dropping then buy it and transfer it to you ..they pay $9 you pay $$$$...

          secondly I've had 3 of these for a domain I own the .net for

          Looking at the registrar info it is pending deletion.. (on-hold (pending delete)) it shows that the last change is 31st jan..

          I assume that on the 5th jan it will be available to buy again.... so how to I give myself a chance of getting the .com?
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  • Profile picture of the author alcymart
    Thank you for this info, although I would of suspected them if I received such a message, it confirms my doubts if I am ever to receive such message after buying a domain name.

    I appreciate you took the time to post this
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  • Profile picture of the author sbucciarel
    Banned
    Just got one of these emails. First time for this scam for me.
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    • Profile picture of the author Gene Pimentel
      Originally Posted by sbucciarel View Post

      Just got one of these emails. First time for this scam for me.

      Welcome to the club! LOL
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      • Profile picture of the author Ralph Moore
        What one person calls a 'scam' another calls an industry.

        There is a rather large and lucrative industry known as Discounted Mortgages.

        A person acts as a 'middle man' (or woman) and searches property records looking for a buyer and seller and ends up putting them together for a fee.

        The middle man doesn't own anything, he just makes the deal happen.

        Now if he purported to already 'own' the property or income stream, then yes, that would technically be a scam.

        I too have received the aforementioned email alerts regarding certain domains.

        I would never try that myself (way too much work for the payoff which I would guess would be a fraction of a percent in conversion).

        But I just look at it as a weird way to try to make a living.

        I guess I just think of a scam as being a lot bigger in scope.
        ~
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        • Profile picture of the author M Thompson
          Originally Posted by eagle View Post


          Now if he purported to already 'own' the property or income stream, then yes, that would technically be a scam.

          ~
          yeah thats what the emails say...
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          • Profile picture of the author candoit2
            Originally Posted by M Thompson View Post

            yeah thats what the emails say...
            Where does he say he already owns the domain.

            ========================================

            Dear Domain Owner,

            Our registrar is in the process of acquiring
            MyTotallyAwesomeDomainNames.com. We are sending
            this email to everyone who might benefit from
            owning this domain.

            If you are interested in buying MyTotallyAwesomeDomainNames.com,
            you can make an offer here:
            scammers-website.net/574392gbjutdt

            After successful acquisition of the domain we will contact the
            person w
            ith the highest offer.

            Thank you for your time,

            Sales Team,
            Address,
            City, State Zip


            ========================================
            Signature

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            • Profile picture of the author M Thompson
              Originally Posted by AaronJones View Post

              Where does he say he already owns the domain.
              That's not the email I received.

              I had 3 different ones one of which said "I am listing my domain for sale in the next few days"
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              • Profile picture of the author candoit2
                Originally Posted by M Thompson View Post

                That's not the email I received.

                I had 3 different ones one of which said "I am listing my domain for sale in the next few days"
                Thank you for clarifying you are talking about a different email. If somone claims to own the domain already then I`d agree 100% that was a scam.

                Aaron
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        • Profile picture of the author Gene Pimentel
          Originally Posted by eagle View Post

          A person acts as a 'middle man' (or woman) and searches property records looking for a buyer and seller and ends up putting them together for a fee.
          The middle man doesn't own anything, he just makes the deal happen.
          There is no "middle man" here. In your example, somebody currently owns the mortgage. Nothing wrong with being a middle man.

          In this scam, nobody owns the domain. They're trying to trick you into making a high offer on a domain that is not owned or controlled by anybody.

          If the domain was owned by someone, and a middle-man was granted permission to help sell it, that's perfectly good business.
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  • Profile picture of the author Joelawrence22
    The Chinese domain name scam is quite popular on the Internet, so I will just go ahead and add myself to the search results.... i dont know what are you talking about
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  • Profile picture of the author wendymay1
    Thanks for the information. Something to keep my eyes open to not fall for this scam.

    Havent come across it yet. You can just about read through the lines of these scammers

    trying to con someone.
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  • Profile picture of the author cbreceipt
    I never get these emails because I use Namecheap and they offer free whois privacy.
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    • Profile picture of the author Gene Pimentel
      Originally Posted by cbreceipt View Post

      I never get these emails because I use Namecheap and they offer free whois privacy.
      Makes no difference.
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  • Profile picture of the author candoit2
    Originally Posted by Gene Pimentel View Post


    ========================================

    Dear Domain Owner,

    Our registrar is in the process of acquiring
    MyTotallyAwesomeDomainNames.com. We are sending
    this email to everyone who might benefit from
    owning this domain.

    If you are interested in buying MyTotallyAwesomeDomainNames.com,
    you can make an offer here:
    scammers-website.net/574392gbjutdt

    After successful acquisition of the domain we will contact the
    person with the highest offer.

    Thank you for your time,

    Sales Team,
    Address,
    City, State Zip


    ========================================

    Do you notice what they're doing here? They are simply offering
    you a domain name that is VERY similar to the one you just
    registered.

    They are asking you to make an offer on this "similar" domain
    name.

    They hope you won't notice that the domain they are offering
    you is not yet registered!

    Many people will fall for this scam without checking the
    validity of the domain. They'll make an offer of maybe
    a hundred dollars or more, and the scammer will THEN register
    this domain for you and sell it to you for the price
    you offered.

    Naturally, the domain was available for you to register for
    just $8 or $9 all along.

    These scammers just mail thousands of these emails to everyone
    they can, who has recently registered a new domain name.

    They never owned the similar domain they're offering you. They
    simply want to get you to make ANY offer better than their
    registration cost.

    Granted, they never claim to own the domain name. They
    just tell you they are in the process of acquiring it. They just
    hope you won't notice that it's not yet registered. That
    qualifies as a scam in my book.

    Gene
    Gene,

    I consider you a mentor and I hold you in high regard
    , but I`m of the opinion any victim here needs a wake up call more than anything that they are their own worst problem and need to get some street smarts quick if they want to get anywhere.

    Let's examine this closer.

    "Any would be victim" actually knows where to find domains at cost. They know how to check their availability.

    Somebody spams "the victim"
    and the spammer says they are "in the process of acquiring a domain" (Not even claiming to own it). The spammer even ends their spam message with After successful acquisition of the domain we will contact the person with the highest offer.``

    They should have enough there to realize that the spammer does not even own the domain and is collecting offers before purchase. (or at least raise suspision to where they would check into it)

    Also notice the fact that any person falling for this has been spammed and has not just hit delete, but is actually considering sending a spammer money on impulse!

    Yet despite all these clues, it doesn't occur to "the Victim" that if some spammer can acquire it cheaper then what they will sell it to you, then you could also look up the domain and contact the owner your self and make an offer that way.

    Upon doing so "the victim" either saves themself from buying from a middle man at an inflated cost or they realize the domain is there for the taking at registration cost!

    I`m not condoning these types of emails and tatics Gene, but people who fall for this type of thing lack the exact type of basic street smarts needed to be a dommainer. (or any type of business online).Telling them this type of email is a scam or if they fell for it that they were scammed only encourages them to continue being failures.

    The web is full of people who call something a scam every time they do not put in the effort to do basic research or display street smarts.

    They either need to learn quick or quit.

    Plus the fact that the person did not own the domain doesn`t make it a scam. Especially when they announce the domain is available to purchase.(What else does ìn the process of acquiring or upon successful acqusition of the domain possibly mean....)

    (Sorry my question marks look like É so I am not using them.)

    Also, if the seller is willing to sell it to them then what`s stopping you from contacting the seller..... Why would you wait for the spammer to buy the domain and then get into a bidding war with the others when you could have just out bid that guy....

    I know the popular thing is to call something a scam, but most times it is just the result of someone not thinking and acting on impulse.

    We can train those people to learn how to be accountable and logical before buying........or we can teach them they are not at fault and they are a victim, and keep them in a state of continual bad buying decisions and as customers who never ever become peers.

    A thread like this warning people is very helpful, Gene.

    Telling people not to fall for this is one thing, but I just feel the need to add to it and tell the if you fell for it, then smarten up part. :-)


    Aaron
    Signature

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  • Profile picture of the author Gene Pimentel
    Aaron, many great points here, thank you. However, I completely disagree with the notion that just because somebody doesn't know better that they are less of a victim.

    The majority of domain owners are not "domainers" or internet marketers. While it is their sole responsibility to make appropriate decisions, they are still a victim of fraud if they purchase a domain from someone who does not own the domain.
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    • Profile picture of the author candoit2
      Originally Posted by Gene Pimentel View Post

      Aaron, many great points here, thank you. However, I completely disagree with the notion that just because somebody doesn't know better that they are less of a victim.

      The majority of domain owners are not "domainers" or internet marketers. While it is their sole responsibility to make appropriate decisions, they are still a victim of fraud if they purchase a domain from someone who does not own the domain.
      I see it as they do know better. They just failed to use the knowledge they have.

      They bought a domain they know where to find one, and as they entered their contact info when setting up their domain, then they know where to find all the data needed on another domain.

      Sure fraud is fraud, however the person actually told them they were not the owner of the domain and are accepting offers now so that upon them acquiring the domain they will then sell to whoever gave them the best offer.

      Some guy has a business model based on that people are too naive or too lazy to look up a domain before throwing hundreds of dollars at him, even after he is telling them the domain is for sale and he will sell it to you after buying it himself.

      If you don`t look up the domain and don`t contact the person selling the domain yourself and choose to wait for him to buy and let you participate in a bidding war with his list of potential buyers...

      Someone who buys the domain has to have a clue of what is going on and if they are not, the advice should be...don`t go making big offers on domains until you have some more experience or you are going to get eaten up and left broke.

      This type of email should not have made it further than...this is spam...delete.

      Rule 1 is never buy from a spam email.

      Aaron
      Signature

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  • Profile picture of the author wkathome
    Thanks for the heads up. I've received this email several times and just ignored it.
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  • Profile picture of the author Mike Nikolz
    Actually some scammer gave me a brilliant idea with domain, similar to one of my domains. I just went and checked - and registered it ))
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    .

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  • Profile picture of the author seasoned
    WOW, most registrars have STOPPED the ability to poll. Verisign has effectively insisted that it not happen. So HOW do they find out about the registration so quickly, UNLESS, of course, THEY are the registrar!

    Steve
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  • Profile picture of the author Gene Pimentel
    @Steve - Lists of new registrations are published every day. It's public information.
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  • Profile picture of the author Jimspeed
    LOL - you know it's funny.. scammers will do just about anything for money.. and they are CREATIVE! If they just used that creativity for good... they could do great things!
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    • Profile picture of the author Gene Pimentel
      Originally Posted by Jimspeed View Post

      LOL - you know it's funny.. scammers will do just about anything for money.. and they are CREATIVE! If they just used that creativity for good... they could do great things!
      Yeah, but it's more than just shifting one's effort in a different direction - it's about the type of person doing it. People who have a "taking" mindset will always gravitate toward getting everything they can at someone elses expense, no matter where they put their effort.
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