Was this an internet domain name renewal scam? I shared my expertise and you examined it yourself.
I just received this email titled ‘Internet Trademark Protect’ claiming that one of my domain names was going to be trademarked by a company call DERUI Investment and I was asked if I objected to the third party application claim. I started to get worried and troubled if my domain name would be revoked.
Then I read the email again and I began to doubt because I spotted simple grammar and syntax errors like ‘asia’ is spelt ‘ASIA’ and the date is typed ‘February,2nd,2010′. The ending signature was really done unprofessionally. If a big company was big enough to buy up all the variant domain names and trademarked it, then they would get a decent representative to handle such matter and the representative would unlikely sign off so mildly.
The 2 giveaways were the contact ‘Tel:+86(0)21 6296 2950′ and the website link ‘web:www.ygnetwork.cn’. If it was a China based company, unlikely they would put the plus sign (+) and the bracketed zero. A typical Chinese company would put the contact in this format, (021) 1234 5678. Obviously, the sender was targeting non China resident to call into China. The website was not hyperlinked and used the word ‘web:’ which was not what a typical Chinese company would do. Not hyperlinked mean it was deliberately unlink, then why still typed in the web address.
I did a whois on the domain name ygnetwork.cn and ygnetwork.org.cn and traced it. The whois information were messy. Then I quickly checked the email header and the email address Angela@ygnetwork.org.cn could not be validated. It was interesting to note that the A in the Angela@ was capitalised.
Finally I went over to view the website. First thing, I scrolled all the way down to the footer to look for the ICP licence. The ICP licence was not displayed. No ICP licence number on the website means it was not registered with the local authority that the company was registered and this was violating China internet regulations. In simple English, it was illegal and law breaking. How could a company that claimed to be a domain name registration and bearing the .cn without displaying ICP licence. This was the greatest giveaway that it was a scam.
There were many things I could still checked and exposed if it was a domain name renewal scam like, the phone numbers used on the website was it a mobile number that faked a land line number. I could also check the directory to validate the occupant of the address and so forth but I need not anymore because the ICP number missing from the website was sufficient for me to pass the judgement.
If you went to the contact page, you could find the Beijing and Hongkong share a similar address. If you were familiar with Hangzhou, you would easily spot that the address was wrong. Lastly, how could a .cn website not available in Chinese language.
The whole setup had a lot scam elements. An invalid email address that you cannot reply but to make a call to one of their numbers. A scammer always preferred a phone call than email conversation because it was not traceable. A lot of cannot-make-sense credentials to valid the website legitimacy. Contact numbers displayed in a uniformed format that made it easy for it potential targets to make the initial call.
A domain name renewal scam or a real legitimate business, you decided?
Below was the content I received in my email.
We are a Domain Name registration service company, which is a professional Internet Domain Name Registration and dispute resolution organization in China.On February,2nd,2010, We received DERUI Investment company’s application that they are registering the name “mydomain” as their Internet Trademark and “mydomain.cn”,”mydomain.com.cn” ,”mydomain.asia”domain names etc.,It is China and ASIA domain names.But after auditing we found the brand name been used by your company. As the domain name registrar in China, it is our duty to notice you, so I am sending you this Email to check.According to the principle in China,your company is the owner of the trademark,In our auditing time we can keep the domain names safe for you firstly, but our audit period is limited, if you object the third party application these domain names and need to protect the brand in china and Asia by yourself, please let the responsible officer contact us as soon as possible. Thank you! Looking forward to your reply. Kind regards
Oversea marketing manager
Tel:+86(0)21 6296 2950
Fax:+86(0)21 6296 1557