Funny thing happens when you opt out of the domain protection. You get scammers emailing you left and right, up and down. My morbid curiosity led me to turn down protection for only about $12 annually. I’ve decided to start responding to the scams. This is my first one. Read below or watch the video above.
The Scammer’s Introduction
Recently, I purchased a new domain that caught the eye of one scammer in particular. The scammer sends me an email with the offer amount in the subject line to catch my eye. Also included in the subject line are the words, “FROM JAPAN!” That addition gave me a laugh. It makes it seem like the whole weight of the Japanese Government is behind this guy to procure this obscure domain name, thereby honoring his family. S/he is representing a “professional investor with a good budget.”
Now, I like big budgets. I cannot lie. So, I feigned interest as best I could to see what tricks are up this scammer’s sleeves.
The Scammer’s Method
I’ve put his entire method email in a block quote below. It’s fairly complex, which makes it seem more legitimate. It has elements that give some hope, however small, this is real, words like Escrow and commission and a link to a Google Answers page. But other elements give the scheme away, not the least of which is that you shouldn’t have to buy something! You are the seller here after all.
Our commission is only 5%. It’s divided between buyer and seller 50/50 after you get the money. The buyer offers $85,000. If it’s not enough please let me know and we will negotiate.
He will pay you money via Authorize Net (First German) Escrow. They support buyers from Asia and it’s important for my buyer. This escrow service supports many payment methods and you will be able to receive the money easily. Do you have a certificate for your domain? Without it his legal department won’t approve the purchase. It’s also required by the buyer’s bank. The certificate must include the following things to be accepted by my buyer and his bank:
– Copy of the certificate in Japanese (required by the buyer’s bank).
– Ownership verification (the certification agency must confirm you are a legal owner).
– Trademark infringement verification (the buyer does not want to lose the domain after purchase because it has problems with trademarks).
– The domain must not be pledged or sold to third parties (verification of restrictions).
– The certificate must be up to date (issued during last 30 days)
– The certification agency must be authorized by my buyer and his bank.
You can read about certification agency that’s accepted by his bank and supports a copy in Japanese at Google Answers: http://tinyurl.com/yd29hdqv (I’ve made short form of the long Google Answers link. “Domain Broker” is my nickname).
No risk for you: they provide full money back guarantee if you don’t sell your domain within 15 days.
The process is very easy (you can do everything online in several minutes):
1. Go to the certificate agency site accepted by my client and order the certificate. The service recommended at Google Answers is accepted by the buyer’s bank (they support Japanese and English languages). It guarantees us a smooth and fast transaction.
2. If they approve your request please make the payment. The certificate will be sent to your email within several hours. Send the certificate to me and we will start the sale process the same day.
If you are new to the certification process or unsure which certification agency to use, I can help you with the step by step instructions how to order a proper certificate online.
My Reply to the Scam
The best way to fight back with a scammer is with humor or to waste their time. I chose the former. I created a product, where the scammer must purchase a certificate of my own making before we can talk business.
Hi Mr. Takizawa,
That all sounds great. Before I can purchase the certificate, you will need to provide a certificate of your own proving you are an official domain reseller. The authorized certificates can be found here: http://tinyurl.com/fak-
certificate (I’ve also made a short link for funsies). Once you make the purchase, download the official certificate and forward it to me. I will then let you know our next steps, but just to give you a preview, they involve a mime, a pipe wrench, two sticks of bubble gum, and the Hadron Collider.
In all seriousness, common sense tells gives me an idea of what things are worth. Why would I fool myself into thinking otherwise, no matter the amount offered? Ultimately, the old adage rings true today: If it sounds to good to be true, it probably is. This is where I say that terms (well, just one) apply to the $85,000.00 promised in the title. You must be the author of this article to collect. Sorry.