The Domain Scammers are still active !
Scammer Alert! Be aware of the domain appraisal scam 2017. This is an old trick but I’m writing today just because the scammers still active even in 2017 and trying to do the same with different email id and names. This is not a surprise if the domain offer received from scammer seems like a normal offer but the process they insist on, doesn’t make sense and create doubts about scam.
Domain appraisal Scam Email content
This happened to me this March 24, 2017 when i received an offer from email@example.com for one of my domain name that I was willing to sell for $x,xxx through a sales page with an offer form available but the scammer came to me through “Domain whois” information. I received the following email from a Domain name broker and he said:
I represent an investor from the Netherlands who wants to buy [removed].com for an online startup.
I located your contact information in a domain name whois lookup and understand that you own the domain name.
Are you still interested in selling?
I work for a large hosting company and help our VIP clients to buy high quality domains.
If you have more names I can help you to sell them.
Intellectual Property Specialist
This was a normal email like the buyers use to initiate a Domain name sale. The scammer didn’t mention the price but tried to confirm if I was the real owner of this domain name. I replied to the Domain broker:
Hi Inga Fletcher,Thank you for contacting and showing interest in buying the domain name. Yes I’m willing to sell this domain for a good offer so please make an offer for this domain.Looking forwardThanks
How The scammers approach and catch a Domainer ?
Then after few hours the broker cam with another Name “Lawyer” firstname.lastname@example.org and insisted on couple of processes that put me in doubt about the scam because it has been happened to other “Domainers” too so I jumped over to one of great Pakistani Domainer Abdul Basit who is a professional Domainer with great sales history and I told him about this offer that is below:
He is in Real Estate business. Domains for him is a just a way to generate some additional income. He is not a professional domainer.
Do you own .net version? If yes, he can buy two names. If not, he will buy just one domain.
Our commission is 3 %. It’s paid after you receive the funds.
The buyer offers $45,000.
How do you want to get paid: Check, Wire, Western Union ? If my buyer does not support your preferred method he can send you the funds via an escrow service that supports it.
Do you have a certificate? The appraisal certificate gives buyer confidence to proceed.
My buyer also needs it for tax and accounting purposes.
If you don’t have it’s not a problem. You can order it online.
Please note he cannot accept it from any agency. He needs a manual service. It also must be a third party independent agency (not your broker our auction site) he knows and trusts.
The certification must include the following:
1. Independent valuation of the market price. It will show your domain name is not overpriced. On the other hand if the valuation comes higher, he will increase the price accordingly. In the domain name industry, there are many appraisal tools that people use to estimate the value of a domain name. My client does not want to risk and doesn’t accept services that use scripts. If you are unsure about some service feel free to ask me.
2. Trademark infringement verification. It proves your domain has no trademark problems. He would like this verification to be included in the appraisal report. It’s not a problem because some companies include the TM verification for free.
I’m also interested in a good estimate of the market price because you will pays me % on each sale.
You can read about certification agencies at http://answersgoogle.org/answers/threadview/id/07381620.htm (“Domain Broker” is my nickname).
The process is very easy:
1. Go to the certificate agency site and order a certificate. Just submit your domains and let them know you have a buyer with $XX,XXX offer. It will help you to get a better valuation.
If your domain is worth at least $1000, they will send you the payment instructions. If it’s not possible, they won’t send you the instructions. This way you will not lose anything. It’s very convenient and gives you the full protection. Other services charge you upfront even if your domain is not worth spending the appraisal fee, so I don’t recommend them.
2. Send the certificate to me and we will start the sale process. As soon as he receives your certificate he will buy your domain via an escrow service of his choice.
If the appraisal comes higher he will make a better offer. His final offer will only depend on the appraisal results.
If you are new to the certification process, I can help you with the step by step instructions.
The content of this email put me in doubt as how a Domainer could offer a domain name so much high because normally the buyer starts from the low price quote and then gradually increase the price during the negotiation and finally end up at a price that is between both of the parties.
Abdul Basit also confirmed me that this is pure Domain scam and this is an old trick that scammers use to catch the people for paid appraisal and / or Escrow services. So this is to remember that still scammers are very active and targeting the Domainers for Domain appraisal and escrow scams and use Swiss email ids and location to show as legal company or Domain brokerage firm but in reality they are just scammers.
I didn’t stop mailing just to know what is the way they catch domainers and how they do that. So I wrote and send a reply to him as below:
Well I’m not a big seller. I have no time to deal with all you required. Just send me $35,000 and eat a big pie of $10,000 for the services your client needs. You are professional and expert in this so just make a deal for $10,000.So pay me $35,000 for the domain “[removed].com” and buy it from me. Then sell to your client for $45,000if you are agreed then get back to me and I’ll tell you how will I receive the payment. Thanks