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Domainers Beware This Scam E-mail

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Domainers Beware this Scam E-mail

As regular readers of this blog will know I believe there is money to be made buying and selling domain names. But there is also money to be lost due to scams, so take care.

I recently received the following e-mail :

"Hello,

Your domain was listed for sale.

Please send an email with your quote in US dollars or Euros for the name mentioned in the subject line.

Our company is working on custom software and hardware projects for several large corporation. Domain names is not our business but a new way to earn on reselling. We are going to buy domains to resell them at higher prices since we have a large database of clients interested in good domains.

Looking forward to do business with you.

Regards,
Joseph Huberman, Ph. D.
CEO
BON-Tech Services"

[Note the English is good, but not quite good enough, there are mistakes.]

I was intrigued, but before e-mailing back my outrageous asking price for my very valuable domain I decided to do some hunting. I was surprised to find that Dr. Huberman and his company were nowhere to be seen on Google, at least not the Huberman I was looking for. So I delved a little deeper.

I looked at the return e-mail address huberman/AT/bonbon.net - well I've never heard of bonbon.net - in fact I thought it was rather sweet ! But it turns out that it is an anonymous type e-mail service. So alarm bells started to ring.

I eventually came across a message on a forum warning about just such e-mails - Discuss Names - one poster had been taken in by it although you will be pleased to learn that his credit card company refunded his money (hooray for credit cards !)

The scam is an 'appraisal scam' that works like this.
  1. They imply they want to buy your domain name
  2. You ask them for an outrageous amount of money
  3. They say they want to get the domain 'professionally appraised'
  4. They put you in touch with a trusted 'appraisal company'
  5. You pay for the appraisal
  6. The buyer changes his mind
  7. You sit down and weep

All names used in this post are fictitious.

So, if you have read this, then you have been warned !

Take care and please leave a comment or message about any scams you may have encountered or avoided ! :-)




17 comments:

  1. THANKS! I almost fell for this one! I did notice the bad grammar though ;)

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  2. Cool. Did you just receive one recently ?

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  3. I just received this one yesterday. Emailed back and forth with this person several times and it got more suspicious each time. (His English is poor in all his emails. I assumed it wasn't his first language, but that wasn't what I was holding against him.) He was really pushing this 'securenamesale.com' place as the only place that was 'reputable' enough for him and that I would never be able to sell my domain to anyone without one of these 'real' appraisals. The place seemed a little shady. Rented hosting space. Ownership by proxy. What real company devoted to IT services does that? Beware, guys. Major scam. Oh, no proof, but if this guy happens to be the CEO of some place called Bon Tech and it's the same company that registered bontech.com...do a search on the registrant: 'RareNames, WebReg' and read through a few of the legal battles with that sleezoid company. My apologies if he's not related, but it sends off a few bad vibes.

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  4. Hi Bridget,
    Thanks for the info. Was it Dr. Huberman ? There's a long post about this scam here too - http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=%22appraisal+scam%22&btnG=Search
    I'm glad to hear you didn't part with any money. Vic

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  5. Yes. He said his name was Joseph Huberman, Ph. D. (sure it is.)

    Thanks for the link. That was quite enlightening. It is exactly as I suspected. And I think the DomainAppraisalScam.com guy has it right. This is an automated scam that is being generated by bots. Based on my conversations with him, the responses are semi auto generated. And it most likely isn't even the same person in each email. Probably a group. And, they're not even smart enough to take you off their 'scam them' list when you call them thieves and liars. I know. I'm still getting emails from them about how I really need their services so that I can sell that domain that couldn't possibly be sold without their fleecing.

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  6. Hi Bridgett,

    Thanks for the update. I'm sure you're right, unfortunately I think they just work on numbers. If they send out enough e-mails a certain percentage will get caught out I guess. Pity they don't devote thei renergy to doing something useful! Vic

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  7. I received one today, and was about to give him a reasonable quote, when I decided to google him - and lo and behold, this guy has a history :)

    Thanks for this post!

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  8. Hi Rohit,
    Glad to hear that my post was of use ! The Internet is a phishy plaice !
    Regards
    The Old Vic

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  9. Gotta love scam busters :)

    Dev from http://www.dailymoolah.com

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  10. THANKS!

    i just received an email from this guy for 2 domains of mine. but like any savvy web user, i decided to google his company before replying, and your post was the first hit on google.

    your post saved me some search time and has also informed me of yet another way scam artists can target me.

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  11. THANKS!

    I just received 2 emails from this guy for a couple of domains i'm selling. but like any savvy web user, before replying i decided to google him out first. i searched for BON-Tech Services, and your post was the first hit on google!

    you saved me some good search time on this, and informed me of yet another way scammers can target me.

    much obliged!

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  12. Hi,
    Thanks for letting me know my post has been of use.
    The Old Vic

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  13. I got this e-mail too and told him I wasn't about to pay for a bunch of appraisals. However, I did end up on the securenamesale.com web site and bought their $99 appraisal calculator "Professional Domain Appraisal Software 4.1" (http://www.securenamesale.com/appraisal.exe).

    It turns out the calculator does absolutely nothing and generates the same numbers for just about any domain you put in. It just appraised the domain slkdfjskjldflksdjflksjdflksjdflkseuiou.com as being worth $7,308.

    Do not buy this software!

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  14. Thanks for the advice! I'll look out for this one.

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  15. Hi Bryan,
    Hope it is of use to you. Vic

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  16. I got this one today, too. I quoted him (no harm there), but also stated that I've already had the domain appraised (which is true) and haven't heard a peep since.

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  17. Hi Andy,
    Thanks for the info.
    The Old Vic

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