WARNING: Domain Scam back in circulation

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There have been many domain scams circulating the web for many years... one of the most prolific scams is where you receive a legitimate-looking email from a company who pretends to be interested in buying your domain name.

The reality is, once you begin negotiating, they will promise to buy your domain immediately if it appraises to the price you're asking. Sounds reasonable, but their only goal is to steer you to an appraisal service they either own or profit from in some way. Once you buy the appraisal, you'll never hear from this 'buyer' again.

I'm posting this today to let you know that this appraisal scam seems to be running rampant recently, under many variations. Please be careful not to fall into this trap. Never, ever, buy an appraisal for a domain name to satisfy a potential buyer. In all my years of selling domains, I have NEVER been asked for an appraisal from a legitimate prospect, but hundreds of times from scammers.

The one that seems to have revived recently is the one mentioned in this post:

http://www.namepros.com/warnings-and...is-a-scam.html

Again, there are many variations, and they're out in droves. Just a heads-up.

Gene





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#back #circulation #domain #scam #warning
  • Profile picture of the author Gene Pimentel
    Okay, so I decided to play with this guy to see where it would go. I'll post the conversation as it happens here. His initial email said:

    -------------------------------

    Hello,

    Our company is interested in your domain name. What is your price?

    We have a solid investing budget and our company is very interested in
    Internet names and web sites.

    If you have other domains for sale feel free to send your list.

    Looking forward to do business with you.

    Regards,

    Bradford Whitman

    CEO

    Domain & Web Site Brokerage

    ---------------------------------
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  • Profile picture of the author Gene Pimentel
    My REPLY to that email was this:

    Hello Bradford,

    OracleProperties.com is selling for the bargain price of only $3,500,000.00.

    Payment accepted in silver dollars only.

    Gene
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  • Profile picture of the author Gene Pimentel
    Can you believe "Bradford" had the coconuts to reply to that? Here it is:

    -------------------------

    Can you accept 3,400,000.00 USD?

    Do you sell domain with a web site or just the name?

    Domain without content is ok with me. Web site is not necessary.

    Have you had your domain names evaluated in the past? I mean domain
    appraisals. Without valuation we cannot be sure in the sale price. It's very
    important for me in terms of reselling too. But we must engage a valuation
    company with REAL manual service. So I will only accept valuations from
    independent sources I and my partners trust.

    To avoid mistakes I asked domain experts about reputable appraisal
    companies.

    Please check this blog with suggestions from other sellers and buyers:
    webdiscuss.007sites.com/Archive-07-2009/9172614.htm <-- SCAM SITE!

    If, for example, the valuation comes higher you can adjust your asking price
    accordingly. It will be fair. I also hope you can give me 12% - 15%
    discount.

    After you send me the valuation via email (usually it takes 1-2 days to
    obtain it) we'll continue our negotiations.

    What is your preferred payment method: Escrow.com, International wire
    transfer, PayPal.com or something else?

    Hope we can come to an agreement fast.

    Looking forward to your reply.
    -----------------------------------

    Note #1: He wants to pay me $3,400,000! Wohoo! I can retire!

    Note #2: The link in the above email message leads to a 'forum' which is 100% PHONY. Put into place to make people think his offer is legit.







    .
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    • Profile picture of the author Ken Strong
      Originally Posted by Gene Pimentel View Post

      Please check this blog with suggestions from other sellers and buyers:
      http://xxxxx <-- SCAM SITE!
      Gene, I don't know if it's that big a deal, but maybe you should take out the live link to the scam site? Unless you actually wanted us to go take a look at it for some reason.

      Thanks for the heads up and reminder about this.
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      • Profile picture of the author JulienOrban
        I also received such a message recently... Actually it was the first time I was exposed to it, and I didn't know then (yeah, I directed dumb & dumber) that such scams could exist. But my BSA (Brain Scam Alert) started to ring, so I emailed back to them asking a phone number with the name of a rep, and of course they never replied.

        My 2 cents: trust your instinct.

        J.
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      • Profile picture of the author Gene Pimentel
        Originally Posted by KenStrong View Post

        Gene, I don't know if it's that big a deal, but maybe you should take out the live link to the scam site? Unless you actually wanted us to go take a look at it for some reason.

        Thanks for the heads up and reminder about this.
        Hi Ken, I thought it would be good to let Warriors view the site so they can see how these scammers work. I think I'll edit that so it's not a live link, but just the text url. Thanks!
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  • Profile picture of the author Gene Pimentel
    My reply to that:


    Hello Bradford,

    Sorry, but I'm sticking to my guns. I want $3,500,000.00, not $3,400,000.00. Just send the payment to my address in the whois record. Remember, I accept Silver Dollars only. Once I receive the payment, I'll transfer the domain to you immediately. Please allow 3 days for me to count the coins.

    Best,

    Gene
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    • That is too funny. Thanks for the laugh - and the head's up on the scam.

      Travis

      Originally Posted by Gene Pimentel View Post

      My reply to that:


      Hello Bradford,

      Sorry, but I'm sticking to my guns. I want $3,500,000.00, not $3,400,000.00. Just send the payment to my address in the whois record. Remember, I accept Silver Dollars only. Once I receive the payment, I'll transfer the domain to you immediately. Please allow 3 days for me to count the coins.

      Best,

      Gene
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      TVS Internet Marketing: Helping small businesses get more visibility & sales online.
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    • Profile picture of the author Josiah
      Originally Posted by Gene Pimentel View Post

      My reply to that:


      Hello Bradford,

      Sorry, but I'm sticking to my guns. I want $3,500,000.00, not $3,400,000.00. Just send the payment to my address in the whois record. Remember, I accept Silver Dollars only. Once I receive the payment, I'll transfer the domain to you immediately. Please allow 3 days for me to count the coins.

      Best,

      Gene
      Hahaha, this is great...

      Reminds me of the time I had a email conversation with a "rich" gentleman from Nigeria

      Josiah
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  • Profile picture of the author Lloyd Buchinski
    That scam never seems to die.

    I ran into a completely new one lately, offline, by snail mail. The letter said that the domain was going to expire and they had the correct date. There were the dire warnings to not let that happen and then the price to renew it for one year with them. Can't remember exactly but they wanted about $45, about 5 times more than I pay.

    Of course there will be people who fall for this one too but it was a pleasure dropping their postage in the trash.
    Signature

    Do something spectacular; be fulfilled. Then you can be your own hero. Prem Rawat

    The KimW WSO

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    • Profile picture of the author Gene Pimentel
      Originally Posted by Lloyd Buchinski View Post

      That scam never seems to die.

      I ran into a completely new one lately, offline, by snail mail. The letter said that the domain was going to expire and they had the correct date. There were the dire warnings to not let that happen and then the price to renew it for one year with them. Can't remember exactly but they wanted about $45, about 5 times more than I pay.

      Of course there will be people who fall for this one too but it was a pleasure dropping their postage in the trash.
      Ya, the snail mail one has been around for over a decade actually... they charge $35 for renewals. They make it seem like an invoice that you need to pay in order to not lose your domain. Offline businesses EASILY get sucked into this, as they don't know any better. It's a shame.
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  • Profile picture of the author dv8
    Haha, this is great!! Thanks for the laughs!
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  • Profile picture of the author competitive
    I had someone hack into my account and transfer it to Domain registry of America, they of course denied any knowledge of it. I have now locked all my domains and gone with Domain proxy private registration.
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  • Profile picture of the author Gene Pimentel
    I'm FLOORED by the audacity of these people. Would you believe he replied as if we were actually conducting business? Insane! Here's his reply to my last email (shown in message #5 in this thread):

    -------------------------------

    No proble,

    It's a standard practice to show independent valuation to buyers/resellers.
    Nobody will do business without it. I'm a businessman and have no intention
    of changing rules which help both parties to avoid additional risks.

    Of course, investors never take into account auto-generated valuations. So
    manual valuation is a "must" too.

    I read the following information about appraisals at:
    (link to same scam site)

    Thank you for understanding. I'm looking forward to do business with you.

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

      I'm FLOORED by the audacity of these people. Would you believe he replied as if we were actually conducting business? Insane!
      Right you are Gene. Thanks for the heads up and informative discussion. Such people are simply sociopathic criminals. If anyone finds that label a bit harsh, maybe they can point out some redeeming and positive qualities behind such proposed business? We'll wait.....

      Hehehehe.
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  • Profile picture of the author Gene Pimentel
    .

    My Reply:


    Dear Bradford,

    Thank you so much for this opportunity. $3,500,000.00 will surely come in handy. I need a new car. Oh, and I think I'll splurge and buy me a new iPod too.

    I love Silver dollars, don't you? They're SO shiny. I just hope I'll be able to count them all without losing count halfway through, that would be a bummer! By the way, do you sell coin-counting machines? If you do, send one along and just deduct the cost from the total.

    I looked at the site you linked me to. Quite impressive! My only problem is that I can't read. It's an unfortunate part of my upbringing -- long story. I can write with no problem, but I cannot read to save my life! I have to have everything read to my by my assistant, but she is is currently in the hospital having a hangnail removed. You know how painful those can be.

    Anyway, I'm anxious to do business! My address again is in the whois info. I know $3,500,000.00 worth of silver dollars is going to be a very heavy package, but I think there's enough room in my garage. I've already cleared a space and set up 12 banquet tables. I figure I'll have my friends come over and help me count to speed the process. I don't mind if they pocket a few for themselves. The BEST part is, since the 12 banquet tables will already be set up, we can CELEBRATE and have a big feast after we're done counting! I'd like to invite you to celebrate with us... just give me a call!

    Thanks again,

    Gene





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    • Profile picture of the author davewebsmith
      I havent laughed like this since Ace Ventura ... Thanks for that my co-workers are wondering what Im laughing at
      Signature
      watch this space ...
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    • Profile picture of the author Gene Pimentel
      Originally Posted by Sumit Menon View Post

      You should've asked for his phone number.
      Been down that road before -- they NEVER give you their contact info other than an email address. Besides, I have no desire to speak with him. Just trying to make him a little crazy(er).
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  • Profile picture of the author Dave Gammage
    Gene, you crack me up! :-D
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  • Profile picture of the author Slin
    Awesome, my sister almost fell for a similar scam (different product, but same idea) Beware of this with places trying to find out your "Credit score"
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  • Profile picture of the author rapidscc
    LOL...So any news from them lately.

    I hope these people would just use their creativity in a more positive way..

    Omar
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  • Profile picture of the author ScottTMc
    Thanks fo rthis info, i know now what to do if someone contacts me wanting to "buy" my domain
    Signature

    Please read the sig file rules

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  • Profile picture of the author J Bold
    Thanks for the warning. There are many ways on the internet to get free appraisals. Many sites offer this for free based on their own algorithms.Take an average of all of them and that can be a good number to go buy. No reason to every buy anything for this, unless you're dealing with hundreds of thousands of dollars, maybe. I use websiteoutlook.com, for a starting point.
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  • Profile picture of the author Profit-smart
    Gene, you should get out of IM and be a comedian.

    I dont think I've laughed so hard in weeks.

    These guys are just a step above the 419 scammers.
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    • Profile picture of the author Gene Pimentel
      Originally Posted by Profit-smart View Post

      I dont think I've laughed so hard in weeks
      Glad to be of service! :-)
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  • Profile picture of the author Gene Pimentel
    -------------------------
    He actually replied:

    As a seller you should provide me with an appraisal first. This is a reasonable practice. I've found not all the appraisals are accurate. So I accept real manual appraisals from trusted sources only. I don't trust $14-$20 services. Nobody will do a research for $14. We need a real manual service. I researched several companies and here are the results:

    (here he lists four legitimate appraisal services but claims they are fraudulant)

    Many experienced sellers suggested us http://www.(edited).com as a trustworth manual service. They charge per name not per hour. We've read only positive comments about them. And I have my own positive experience with this company and their support.

    Bradford

    -------------------------

    My reply:


    Hello again Bradford,

    Thanks for getting back to me, I've been waiting all day. I'm very sad that after all our emails you haven't agreed to my request for silver dollars. Let me know if you agree, then I will have the domain appraised for you. I have to cut this short because I haven't been to the bathroom all day, waiting for you. I really have to go now.

    Bye,

    Gene
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  • Profile picture of the author STShipley
    Funny stuff!

    Unfortunately shipping 3.5 million silver
    dollars would really eat into ones profits.

    .s
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  • Profile picture of the author Gene Pimentel
    ------------------------------
    'Bradford' wrote back:

    No deal without appraisal from a trusted source. This simple rule has saved
    me a lot of money and time. Feel free to contact me when you change your
    position and let's do business the right way.

    ------------------------------
    My reply:

    Hi again Bradford,

    I must have typed my last message too fast for you to keep up with, because I said I would get an appraisal. I'm typing this message much slower so you don't miss anything this time.

    A friend of mine let me know that 3.5 million silver dollars would weigh over 103 tons, and recommended this method of transportation: Antonov An-225 - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Another option would be for me to fly to your location and spend the silver dollars there. We could go shopping together! Wouldn't that be fun? The first thing I'd do is buy you a conscience. Let me know what you think.

    Gene
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  • Profile picture of the author EdmundDantes
    Some people will try anything to earn more $. That can be shameful
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    • Profile picture of the author Kay King
      Gene -

      I think a lot of people fall for this. A friend called me weeks ago to tell me she was thinking of working online - because it really is "easy".

      Seems she registered a domain a few months ago - I can't remember what it was but it was one of those "cutesy" name you see and wonder "what was that person thinking".

      When she got an email like the one you received, she was ecstatic and was calling me to see "how much I should charge". Hated to burst her bubble...but saved her some money by doing that. Thank goodness she called.

      Old success stories don't go away - they have a half-life longer than you would believe. This woman has "heard of" one marketer making a lot of money selling domains (she asked me if I'd heard of John Reese:p) and she saw no disconnect in the idea that she can register any old thing for $10 and immediately sell it at a huge profit.

      Seems like the drug companies should up with a gullibility cure, doesn't it?
      They could call it the "real little blue pill".

      kay
      Signature
      Saving one dog will not save the world....but will forever change the world of one dog.
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  • Profile picture of the author Gene Pimentel
    This is getting better by the minute. Seems my pal 'Bradford' is getting tired. He just replied again with only four words:

    ----------------------
    Show me the appraisal

    ----------------------
    So I replied:

    Say 'please'.

    Gene

    --------------------




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  • Profile picture of the author mmurtha
    Hey Gene,

    I've been selling domians for a while now, and I get emails like this all the time. When they get to the part of asking me to get the domain appraised lol, I basically tell them if they want the domain appraised they can have it done themselves.

    That works like a charm evidentally because I never hear back from them.

    Btw most of them will ask you to give them a discount % off of what you originally asked for, and send you to discussion forums where people are discussing how important it is for sellers to have their domains appraised when they put it on the market. Then they string their links thru the posts in those threads that run to "The best domain appraisal" places. <sarcastic grin>
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  • Profile picture of the author Emily Meeks
    Haha wow... this is just too perfect. I think you're my new hero
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    In all that you do, know your True INTENT...

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  • Profile picture of the author Gene Pimentel
    Well, well. Bradford seems to have had enough. His latest email now contained only TWO words. I think you can guess the words. It rhymes with Yuck Foo.

    My reply back to that was:

    Sorry, that's not negotiable.

    Gene
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    • Profile picture of the author Kay King
      I think you had the last word!
      Signature
      Saving one dog will not save the world....but will forever change the world of one dog.
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      • Profile picture of the author Gene Pimentel
        Originally Posted by Kay King View Post

        I think you had the last word!
        I did! He hasn't replied back :-)
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  • Profile picture of the author seasoned
    Originally Posted by Gene Pimentel View Post

    There have been many domain scams circulating the web for many years... one of the most prolific scams....
    I got a call from a friend that is a recruiter at a large company. An odd company that TRIED to look like a webhost that hosts their site wrote them a letter. I ended up doing perhaps 15 minutes of research, and told them who their current webhost likely was(which they CONFIRMED that that was what they knew earlier to be fact), and that these JERKS were simply IDIOTS that WANTED to be hosts, and were trying to use "domain slamming" to trick my friends company into giving them control and money. I told my friend that they should lock the domain name ASAP, watch it like a hawk, and just iGNORE those jerks!

    It is SICK that you have to do things like I did, but I have seen too many things resold, etc... HECK, they did that with my MORTGAGE! It was resold without ANYONE telling me. For a while, I was up in the air as to who to pay. The SAME thing has happened with credit cards! WWD didn't get a payment, so the same happened with some of my customers, and ME, for DOMAINS!

    So there are PLENTY of scams! TECHNICALLY, domain slamming, like they did with my friend is ILLEGAL! It is fraud and misrepresentation. Then again, PHONE slamming was technically illegal! They let THAT continue until they FINALLY codified it, and phone slamming is now SPECIFICALLY ILLEGAL. They STILL often cheat on a technicality.

    Steve
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  • Profile picture of the author Gene Pimentel
    Haven't heard anything back since! But I'm hearing that a LOT of people are currently receiving this scam. Careful out there!
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    • Profile picture of the author Gene Pimentel
      Originally Posted by ecoverartist View Post

      LOL@ I love SILVER DOLLARS - they're so SHINY!
      I think that was my favorite line too
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  • Profile picture of the author amber1210
    Hey, Thanks for the warning. Its good to see people out there looking out for the others. Its rare to find anymore. I truly appreciate this. Thank you so much. I'll be on the look out for these scams.
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    • Profile picture of the author GlobalTrader
      Thanks for the update! These scammers approached me two times with a very similar approach - one originated from the USA and the other was Norway or Sweden, can't remember.
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      GlobalTrader

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  • Profile picture of the author ebleu
    I've been scammed! :S Now, is there some way to get my appraisal money back?
    Signature

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    • Profile picture of the author MissTerraK
      Another to watch out for:

      Your great uncle from Austria has listed you as his only heir. You are entitled to $500,000...

      Uh Huh!
      Yeah Right!
      I'm native american, czechslovakian, and french! LOL!:rolleyes:
      MissTerraK
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    • Profile picture of the author Gene Pimentel
      Originally Posted by ebleu View Post

      I've been scammed! :S Now, is there some way to get my appraisal money back?
      Sorry to hear that ebleu! Getting your money back from someone who scammed the money from you isn't likely. The best you can do is warn others as I have been doing.
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      • Profile picture of the author ebleu
        Originally Posted by Gene Pimentel View Post

        Sorry to hear that ebleu! Getting your money back from someone who scammed the money from you isn't likely. The best you can do is warn others as I have been doing.
        Will do that, Gene. Lesson, well learnt
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  • Profile picture of the author mla16
    ha ha ha Ive been tempted into a crazy reply a few times but dont fancy the 4000 replies into my spam filter that will be inevitable
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  • Profile picture of the author Fernando Veloso
    Gene,

    Thanks for the laughs!!! :p

    Man, I am dying here.
    Signature
    People make good money selling to the rich. But the rich got rich selling to the masses.
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