Scams & Deception

Chinese Scam Tricks Users Into Registering Domains

Chinese Scam Tricks Users Into Registering Domains

A common scam involves registered owners of internet domains receiving an email claiming that a business in China is attempting to register several domains containing their company name in Asia. It’s merely a ploy designed at getting unsuspecting domain owners to “protect” their business name from Asian registrants – by unnecessarily purchasing multiple domains.

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The scam is simple: Domain owners are contacted via email and told that someone is attempting to register multiple domains using their business name with various country-code TLD’s (top-level domains for countries, such as .cn for China). The email is worded as a courtesy letter to the domain owner by offering them the chance to register these domains first.

It’s a scam. 

The “warning” is fake, and is merely an attempt to trick domain owners into registering several Asian domains unnecessarily under the guise of protecting their trademark.

We received two such emails making the same claim that someone wanted to register our company name with Chinese domains such as .cn and .com.cn, but they were giving us the chance to register these domains first. Below are both variations of the scam emails we received, and their responses to our replies.

Variation 1

(Letter to Head of Brand Business or CEO, thanks)

Dear Sir or Madam,

This is a formal email. We are the auditing department of a professional domain name registration and dispute solution organization in China. Here I have something to confirm with you. We formally received an application on October 4, 2013 that a company claimed “MAX Holdings Ltd” were applying to register “wafflesatnoon” as their Brand Name and some “wafflesatnoon” Asian countries top-level domain names through our firm.

Now we are handling this registration, and after our initial checking, we found the name were similar to your company’s, so we need to check with you whether your company has authorized that company to register these names. If you authorized this, we would finish the registration at once. If you did not authorize, please let us know within 7 workdays, so that we could handle this issue better. After the deadline we will unconditionally finish the registration for “MAX Holdings Ltd”. Looking forward to your prompt reply.
Best Regards,
Valentine Yang
Tel: +86.7395266069 Fax:+86.7395266169
Address: 124 Changjiang Road Hefei 230001 Anhui, China
dunic.org

Variation 2

Dear Manager,

(If you are not the person who is in charge of this, please forward this to your CEO,Thanks)

This email is from China domain name registration center, which mainly deal with the domain name registration and dispute internationally in China.
We received an application from Huaxiang Ltd on September 7, 2013. They want to register ” wafflesatnoon ” as their Internet Keyword and ” wafflesatnoon .cn “?” wafflesatnoon .com.cn ” ?” wafflesatnoon .net.cn “?” wafflesatnoon .org.cn ” domain names etc.., they are in China domain names. But after checking it, we find “wafflesatnoon ” conflicts with your company. In order to deal with this matter better, so we send you email and confirm whether this company is your distributor or business partner in China or not?

Best Regards,
Jim
General Manager
Shanghai Office (Head Office)
3002, Nanhai Building, No. 854 Nandan Road,
Xuhui District, Shanghai 200070, China
Tel: +86 216191 8696
Mobile: +86 1870199 4951
Fax: +86 216191 8697
Web: www.yg-registry.cn

After receiving these emails, it was apparent that something was amiss because domain registration simply doesn’t work in the manner described above. Anyone can register an available domain immediately, without such a background check. We responded to both emails to see what their replies would be. Those responses are posted below.

Response to Variation 1

Thanks for your confirmation. As soon as receiving the application of that company, we checked and found “wafflesatnoon” is your company’s using name and brand. We are concerned that your brand name might be affected negatively by their applications, this is why we informed you. following Brand Name and domain names are applied by that company:
Brand Name:
wafflesatnoon
Domain Names:
wafflesatnoon.asia
wafflesatnoon.cn
wafflesatnoon.co.in
wafflesatnoon.com.cn
wafflesatnoon.com.hk
wafflesatnoon.com.tw
wafflesatnoon.hk
wafflesatnoon.in
wafflesatnoon.net.cn
wafflesatnoon.org.cn
wafflesatnoon.tw

You know that the domain names registration is open in the world, that company also has the right to apply for the available domain names. You only have the preferential rights to register them.

At present, we haven’t passed their application, we need your opinion. If your company consider these names of importance to your company’s business or interest, I suggest that your company register these names first so as to avoid confusion or speculation. Of course, If you don’t want to protect your intellectual property rights, then my suggestion is your company give up these names so that we can finish registering for them as per our duty. Please give me your company’s decision as soon as possible in order to handle this issue better.

Best Regards,
Valentine Yang
Tel: +86.7395266069 Fax:+86.7395266169
Address: 124 Changjiang Road Hefei 230001 Anhui, China

 Response to Variation 2

Dear Manager,

Based on your company having no relationship with them, we have suggested they should choose another name to avoid this conflict but they insist on this name as CN domain names (.cn/.com.cn/.net.cn/.org.cn) and internet keyword on the internet. In our opinion, maybe they do the similar business as your company and register it to promote his company.

According to the domain name registration principle: The domain names and internet keyword which applied based on the international principle are opened to companies as well as individuals. Any companies or individuals have rights to register any domain name and internet keyword which are unregistered. Because your company haven’t registered this name as CN domains and internet keyword on the internet, anyone can obtain them by registration. However, in order to avoid this conflict, the trademark or original name owner has priority to make this registration in our audit period. If your company is the original owner of this name and want to register these CN domain names (.cn/.com.cn/.net.cn/.org.cn) and internet keyword to prevent anybody from using them, please inform us. We can send an application form and the price list to you and help you register these within dispute period.

Kind regards

Jim
General Manager
Shanghai Office (Head Office)
3002, Nanhai Building, No. 854 Nandan Road,
Xuhui District, Shanghai 200070, China
Tel: +86 216191 8696
Mobile: +86 1870199 4951
Fax: +86 216191 8697
Web: www.yg-registry.cn

After our response to Variation 2 above, we received a strange email – allegedly from one of the registrants – pledging to fight us in our attempt at blocking their registration:

Dear Sirs,

Our company based in chinese office, our company has submitted the ” wafflesatnoon” as CN(.cn/.com.cn/.net.cn/.org.cn) domain name and Internet Keyword, we are waiting for Mr. Jim’s approval. We think this name is very important for our products in Chinese and Asian and Hongkong market. Even though Mr. Jim advises us to change another name, we will persist in this name.

Best regards

Jiang zhifa

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That email was apparently designed to speed up our decision to register these domains. It is interesting to note that the domains listed in the emails above are all still available three years after we first received the slew of correspondence above. Those domains can still be freely registered by anyone without any background checks suggested in the emails we received.

PCWorld discussed this scam back in 2009, and noted that scammers “play on your unfamiliarity with that country’s laws and aim to get you to register the name via their registrar. They make it seem like they’re doing you a favor.”

Bottom Line

If you receive an email claiming that a company is attempting to register various TLD’s in your business name, it is simply an attempt to trick you into needlessly registering a large number of domains.

Over two years months after we first posted this article in October 2013, the domains discussed above are still available for registration.

Further Reading

The bloggers below received nearly identical emails. The domains listed in the emails to these bloggers remain available months later. 

Updated January 20, 2016
Originally published October 2013

  • Susan Foti

    Thanks for this post. I’m in the US and received the exact email (variation 2) today, was wondering if it was a scam. So googled the name and found your post—sure enough it is a scam.

  • Pierre

    I got the same also today here in France, from China. I copy the text below for futur research. Thank you for the post :


    (This is a very important case, so please transfer this email to your CEO or appropriate person. Thanks a lot.)

    Dear CEO/Principal,

    We are the department of Asian Domain Registration Service in China. Here I have something to confirm with you. We formally received an application on April 10, 2014 that a company claimed “ElndThan Company” were applying to register “domainname” as their Net Brand and some “domainname” Asian countries top-level domain names through our firm.

    Now we are handling this registration, and after our initial checking, we found the name were similar to your company’s, so we need to check with you whether your company has authorized that company to register these names. If you authorized this, we would finish the registration at once. If you did not authorize, please let us know within 7 workdays, so that we could handle this issue better. After the deadline we will unconditionally finish the registration for “ElndThan Company” Looking forward to your prompt reply.

    Best Regards,

    Scott Ma

    Senior Consultant Manager

  • mar jon

    Thanks for the info.
    There is so much trickery in the “internet” world.

  • Earle H

    Thank you for your post. We received a notice via email almost identical to your second example. The followup letter was signed by the same name: Jiang zhifa. Amazing!

    • waffles

      It is convincing at first, until you realize, “Hey anyone can register those domains without an ‘approval’ process!”

  • Antoine

    My top advice this year is: Don’t go for the obvious and don’t make false economies. You can be sure that after they taste all these delicious products they will start purchasing other organic products. Having a book light attached to your book opens up all sorts of opportunities for reading that one may otherwise miss out on.

  • waffles

    We’re glad to have been of assistance!

  • andrea

    I’ve just received that scam letter. Thank you for your post, it was very useful!

  • Debbie

    Thank you for posting this information. I have received these emails recently myself. I thought it was probably a scam. Thanks again!

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