Email scams are almost as old as the internet itself. At this point, disposed “Nigerian royalty” asking for help moving their money through a poorly worded email is the email scam cliché of our times. It has been analyzed and thought about academically. Lately, we’ve received several complaints about a variant that is making a comeback – the Chinese Domain Name Registration Scam. As with any unsolicited emails, you should be cautious.
Emails like these generally go as follows: someone posing as an employee at a Chinese domain name registrar informs you that a someone is trying to register your company’s name to a .cn/.tw/.asia/.hk TLD. From their ‘due diligence’ process, they want to check if this company is affiliated to you.
If you engage with them by replying to the email, you might get another email a few days later from the ‘encroaching company’, stating it is important for their business and they intend to proceed with the registration.
You later get an email from the first person, offering to help block their transaction if you register the 4-5 domains in question, at premium prices and sometimes for multiple years.
What to do if you receive such an email
Most of the time, the most prudent thing to do is not to engage and just ignore the scammer and that will just be that.
Of course, there have been people who want to turn the tables and waste the scammers time, but we advise against that.
If you want to investigate further, you can also check the WHOIS data first and poke around first to establish if this is a legitimate company.
Lastly, if you think there is a legitimate threat that someone else might register those domains, you can use your regular registrar.
Unfortunately, currently there is no way to report these to the authorities, especially if they are in another country.