There’s a domain name scam still making its rounds. It’s one of the oldest in the books but I’m assuming that it’s still getting people since it’s alive and well. I literally got an email earlier today but wanted to write this post to help avoid other’s from getting scammed by these “clever” people.
The said email came to me through my personal email address where I have many of my domains linked to. I registered socialtaught.com a couple years ago but didn’t do anything with it. In fact, I listed it in GoDaddy’s Auction for $145 but didn’t sell. This is probably where they got the info. I’m motivated to sell and they know it.
These terrible people looked up the domain socialtaught.com and decided to email me about it.
How Does the Domain Name Trademark Certification Fraud Work?
Well, it shouldn’t…but it does. What they do is reach out to you looking to buy your domain on behalf of an investor who wants it as part of his new venture.
They will offer you a large sum, much more than the domain is worth. And, the domain broker will get a commission from the sale. It sounds pretty legit right? I think it does so far.
Then, all you have to do is certify the domain to make sure you are the owner and the new owner isn’t liable for anything that happens post sale. After you inquire about the offer some more, they will send you a link that you can certify your domain.
This is where the scam artists make their fraudulent money.
The scammer wants you to pay for the appraisal of the domain. If this happens, their job is done and you won’t hear back from them.
What is the Actual Scam? Here’s the email I received.
Here’s the email I received today. I knew it was a scam from the beginning. It looked way good to be true.
I had a little fun with my last response to see if they would answer back. Crickets.
The email exchange starts from the bottom…
Beau Bridges <firstname.lastname@example.org>
2:29 PM (4 hours ago)
This sounds great! But, let’s avoid appraisals and such. I will sell for $32 USD. Sound good?
On Tue, Jul 9, 2019 at 2:09 PM Domain Broker <email@example.com> wrote:
My name is Elizabeth Hyuk. I work for Hostway Korea Ltd. (hosting services).
I act on the behalf of our VIP client (domain investor) and will help you to sell your domain. The buyer purchases several domains to generate traffic to his new web project.If you need faster response please contact me in Telegram messenger.
Please send me your Telegram messenger user name. My user name in Telegram: Hyuk_Legal (@Hyuk_Legal ). Our commission is only 6 %. The commission is divided between you (3%) and the buyer (3%) and paid after you get the money.
The buyer offers $42000 USD in Litecoins/Other crypto currency or $40000 via bank transfer/paper check.
The payment to you will be made via escrow service to protect both parties during the transaction. You will get 50% before the domain transfer and 50% after.
To proceed with the sale, the buyer requires a verification of compliance with Korean law and trademarks because he will run his startup in South Korea.
The buyer pays good money but he must be sure he will not be sued for using it in his country. He needs an independent certification that proves it can be used in South Korea.
Please don’t worry. If you don’t have it you can order it online. I will help you with instructions and will not leave you along with this.
Please note this is not a SSL certificate. I hope you understand it.
The certification must include the following:
– The certification agency must be certified to verify domains in South Korea.
– Verification of compliance with Korean law and trademarks.
– Legal restrictions for his counrty
– Independent valuation by market exerts
– The certificate must be up to date (issued during last 30 days).
– Official copy of the verification in English and Korean.
If the appraisal comes higher the buyer will increase the offer accordingly. If it comes lower please don’t worry. The price for your domain will be the same.
We asked him if GoDaddy or Sedo appraisal certificates will work as a verification for him. I’m not sure they have a license to verify domains in Korea. Now we are awaiting for his answer.
On 09.07.2019 15:28, Beau Bridges wrote:
Good morning! – yes, I am the owner of socialtaught.com. This domain is up for sale. Please send over details from your client.
On Tue, Jul 9, 2019 at 8:00 AM <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
Our client from Daegu (South Korea) wants to buy socialtaught.com. We’ve found your email via online WHO IS service.
Please respond and confirm you are the legal owner so I can send you the details.
If you are unsure whether or not the request you received is legit or not, please feel free to contact us at email@example.com and we’ll be glad to help you out! For free of course.
Please share this with anyone who may own a domain so they don’t get duped.