Monday, November 17, 2008

Chinese Domain Scam - Register Now or Else

I received the unethical blackmail email below, which upon doing some research is a scam. Here is a telling blog entry on the same with hundreds of non-victims compleat with saucy-yet-puerile rebuttals from the scammers.

Report the China Domain Scammers to CNNIC


I reported this to the NIC in China - CNNIC and to the Hong Kong Police Technology Crimes division. If you receive a mail with a subject line similar to "Subject: URGENT --dispute of internet intellectual property safeguard", forward it along to CNNIC who controls the registrars in China. Here is the contact info from CNNIC's website:


CNNIC Service
4, South 4th Street, Zhongguancun,
Haidian district,
Beijing 100190, China
POB: Beijing 349, Branch 6
TEL: +86-10-58813000
FAX: +86-10-58812666
E-mail: service@cnnic.cn
You can also report to the Hong Kong Police Technology Crime Division.


Technology Crime Prevention Unit,
Technology Crime Division,
Commercial Crime Bureau, HKP,
22/F, Arsenal House,
Police Headquarters,
1 Arsenal Street, Wanchai
Hong Kong.
TEL: (852) 2860 5012
FAX: (852) 2328 7128
Email: cpu-tcd@police.gov.hk
Here's the scam letter, for your reference:


(If you are NOT CEO,please forward this to your CEO, because this is urgent.Thanks.)
Dear CEO,
We are the department of registration service in China. we have something need to confirm with you. We formally received an application on November 17, 2008, One company which self-styled "Speed(China)Investment Co.,Ltd" are applying to register (esolia) as internet brand name and domain names as below (esolia.com.cn esolia.net.cn esolia.org.cn esolia.mobi esolia.asia esolia.hk etc.).
After our initial checking, we found the internet brand name and these domain names being applied are as same as your company’s, so we need to get the confirmation from your company. If the aforesaid company is your business partner or your subsidiary company, please DO NOT reply us, we will approve the application automatically. If you have no any relationship with this company, please contact us within 15 workdays. If out of the deadline, we will approve the application submitted by "Speed(China)Investment Co.,Ltd" unconditionally.
We would like to get the affirmation of your company,please contact us by telephone or email as soon as possible.
Best Regards,
Kevin Wu
Senior Director
TEL: +86 21 69929440
Fax: +86 21 69929447
Website:www.qipeng.org.cn
E-mail:Kevin.wu@qipeng.org.cn
Just what we need. More scammers and spammers.

Please Note - Christopher Laursen writes to mention:

I have created the largest online database of Chinese domain name
scammers. 
To date more than 200 scammers and 670 email addresses used by them. 
It would be great if you would refer to it, so we can warn others'
about this scam and reduce the number of victims. 
You can find the scammer list at the URL http://scam.europeandomaincentre.com
Best Regards
Christopher Hofman Laursen

16 comments:

Manny said...

We just got the same email, thanks to this blog we could tell that it was a scamm - kind of dumb - this guy kevin Wu ( kevin.wu@qipeng.org.cn ) was asking for 100EUROS to keep our "internet brand" away from the other company who wanted to purchase it along with our website in china.

Thanks once again 4 the blog

Rick Cogley said...

I'm glad it helped someone and thank you for the comment, Manny. If the sender Kevin Wu did not intend it as a scam (he could say "it's a legitimate business") it's still hugely unethical and basically blackmail. CNNIC told me that noone had tried to register those domains. We had a problem with this exact sort of scam in Japan, where an "entrepreneurial" foreign national registered a whole bunch of domains in the co.jp space, and basically tried to extort money from all the various companies he registered in that new space. Because of that, the JPNIC started to clamp down, and now the registration process is very strict. It's "one kabushiki gaisha(*), one co.jp".

*- Company Limited, basically

Rachel said...

I just got this email too and found your post from googling the suspicious-sounding Speed(China)Investment Co.,Ltd. Now I know its a scam. Thanks!

Viadeo UK Team said...

Hi there! Thanks for sharing the information. I found your post through Google as well.

Rick Cogley said...

@Rachel, @ViaDeo UK - I am glad it was of help. I hate that kind of unethical business, preying upon a situation like that.

paulstamatiou.com said...

Thanks. I just got one of these tonight..

Rafal said...

Hi,

They told us somebody registered domain in China for our website Zikbay.com and few others we have. Thanks for having this post. We have forwarded to Police and CNINC as per your recommendation. I went to their website, looks like a legitimate company. Is their website/domain fake? Thanks a lot!

Rafal
founder of Zikbay.com

Raphael said...

Same for me ! Thank you for this post.

Vishal said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Vishal said...

Thanks to this blog I was able to know that the mail which I received was a scam. I operate a site www.freshinjobs.com . Got a mail from one Jake Shen from Shanghai to register .cn domain names with them to protect my trademark.

rhmf said...

I just got the same email as below...it seemed pretty scammy and thanks to this blog post, I was able to quickly confirm. So these guys are still trolling...somebody in China needs to get these guys.

Rick Cogley said...

@vishal, @rhmf - glad to have been of help. -- Rick

Caroline said...

Thanks for the info on this. We too just received this email regarding our own domain name, and I was about to reply as their website looked ligit (they weren't asking for cash...). But thanks to a quick google search I found your post. Have forwarded to relevant parties! Thanks.

Rick Cogley said...

@Caroline - glad to hear it was helpful and that you avoided problems. -- Rick

Pixelita Designs said...

We just received this email minutes ago claiming that someone there was attempting to register "[*].cn, [*].com.cn, [*].asia, [*].mobi, [*].tw, etc." versions of our domains. Since we already own the *.mobi version, I knew this was a troll/scam attempt. Interestingly, all the email said was that if we are affiliated with the company attempting to register the domains no further action is necessary, if not, we rae to contact them within 10 days to discuss further, and if we don't, they will "unconditionally approve" those registrations.

Rick Cogley said...

Hi Pixelita - glad to have been of some help. All I can say is, these opportunistic, soul-less wankers should be locked up. —Rick