The rather official looking email I received is claiming to alert me to this and comply with legal requirements. Unlike other obvious scams, such as the so-called Nigerian 419 where I stand to make tens of millions of dollars for helping someone retrieve his rightful inheritance; or the millions of Euros I have won in Spanish lotteries I have never entered, this one looked, on the face of it, legit.
And judging by the number of people who have been taken in by it, it has potential to be successful one.
However, a quick internet trawl reveals its true purpose is to encourage the recipient to pay inflated charges to register their domain names in overseas territories.
There are variations on the theme, but the example which was sent to me is as good as any....
About "shout99"- Domains Registration Notification With You
(This is a very important case, so please transfer this email to your CEO or appropriate person. Thanks a lot.)
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 July 2th, 2014 that a company claimed "CodyPaint Company" were applying to register "shout99" as their Net Brand and some "shout99" 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 "CodyPaint Company" Looking forward to your prompt reply.
Senior Consultant Manager
If you receive one of these and enter into correspondence, the next stage will probably be an email from the 'actual' company in question stating its intentions to use your branding.
Then follows another from the 'Domain Registration Service' which tried to be helpful. It will explain how it has tried to dissuade the company from registering your trade name, but is powerless to do so. It advises you to register these names yourself as soon as possible. And for a fee of several hundred rather than millions, it will do so for you. Bit of 'good cop, bad cop'.
Best advice seems to be 'delete' and use your usual domain registration provider for any additional URLs you wish.
And, while we are on the subject, despite emails to the contrary all my friends who 'sent emails' after having had their luggage/money/passports stolen in Thailand/Europe/America and required immediate financial assistance, have actually been fine.
If you wish to comment on this article, please log in and use the Reply button below. Registering is free and easy - see 'Join Shout99'.
Susie Hughes © Shout99 2014