I am usually used to picking up on spam from a mile away. But the email message in my box this morning had me pause for a moment–perhaps it was legitimate? A quick search on the web, however, showed it to be a new type of scam, possibly as recent as March. This was the message I received from a company called “Asia DNR”:
Subject: Crosbygroup-Intellectual property rights (To President/CEO)
We are the domain name registration organization in Asia, which is mainly responsible for domain name registration and dispute. We have some points need to confirm with your company on intellectual property right on Internet. On Nov 9,2008, we have received an application form on domain name registration from one company named”Mengta company”. They put forward to register the following Domain names:
through our body.
After our initial examination, we found that the Internet brand and domain names applied for registration are as same as your company’s name and trademark. These days we are dealing with it. If you do not know this company, we doubt that they have other aims to buy these domain names. Now we have not finished the registration of Mengta company yet, in order to deal with this issue better, Please contact us by telephone or email as soon as possible.
If you are not in charge of this please transfer this email to some appropriate dept. This would affect your company’s reputation, image and benefit, etc.
Hong Kong Office:Tel: 00852-8122 6293
Fax: 00852-8125 7328Email:firstname.lastname@example.org
A quick look around the web here, here and here shows others have received similar messages. Apparently the “scam” part is that once contacted they will offer to sell you the domain names. I learned in my travels that domain name registrars will not seek out and contact you when someone is trying to register a domain related to your name. A couple of “best practices” I also gleaned:
- when you are first setting up your domain name, be sure to register domains for all the different jurisdictions in which you think you will be doing business. This will prevent someone else from squatting on that domain and then selling it to you later when you really need it;
- as with any scam, do not respond to these messages. Just delete.
There are a number of names being used for this type of scam in addition to Asia DNR.
Update: This scam has been running at least since August 2007. Thanks to lawyer Eric J. Heels for the link!