Did you get an email from someone that wants to BUY your Domain?
You might be a target for an email domain scam?
Domain Scams can go something like this…
I’m a representative of a businessman who wants to purchase YourDomainName.com. I located your contact information in a domain name whois lookup and understand that you own the domain name.
Are you still interested in selling? I work as a lawyer and specialize in digital content. I help our clients to buy and sell web sites and domains.
Do you have more domains? Can you send a list? Are you an experienced seller?
In fact, the above is the exact email I received except it had one of my domain names in the text instead of YourDomainName.com.
At first I thought it was a real offer, and I kind of got excited. I had my domain NaturalHealthAffiliate.com listed at Flippa, and thought “Great! Maybe I’ll get a good offer.”
So I answered the sender of the “Buy Your Domain Scam Email” with the email below.
I am interested in selling Natural Health Affiliate at NaturalHealthAffiliate.com
Would you like to make an offer on it?
Thanks for the contact,
Below is the response I got from the Domain Scammer.
“The buyer is an investor from Norway.
He offers $15,000.
Do you have a certificate?
My buyer needs the certificate for accounting/tax purposes.
If you don’t have it’s not a problem. You can order it online.
Please note he cannot accept it from any agency. He needs a manual service.
The certification must include the following:
1. Independent valuation of the market price. It will show your domain name is not overpriced. On the other hand if the valuation comes higher, he will increase the price accordingly. In the domain name industry, there are many appraisal tools that people use to estimate the value of a domain name. My client does not want to risk and doesn’t accept services that use scripts. If you are unsure about some service feel free to ask me.
2. Trademark infringement verification. It proves your domain has no trademark problems. He would like this verification to be included in the appraisal report. It’s not a problem because some companies include the TM verification for free.
I’m also interested in a good estimate of the market price because he pays me % on each sale.
You can read about certification agencies at (There Was A Link Here But I Removed That Because I Don’t Want To Send You To A Spam Website.) (“Domain Broker” is my nickname).
The process is very easy:
1. Go to the certificate agency site and order a certificate. Just submit your domains and let them know you have a buyer with $XX,XXX offer. It will help you to get a better valuation.
2. Send it to me and we will start the sale process. As soon as he receives your certificate he will buy your domain via an escrow service. Any escrow service will be able to pay you via Paypal, Wire, Western Union or any other method you prefer.
He wants to ensure the safe delivery of the funds to you. Furthermore, since this is our first time conducting any business, I believe that using a third-party escrow service can provide a safe, well defined process.
If you are new to the certification process, I can help you with the step by step instructions.”
This above email brought up suspicion for me so I Googled “Domain Name Buying Scams” and I read another article about Domain Scams called…
After reading that article I was convinced that someone was trying to scam me, so I sent them the following email.
I appreciate your offer if it is genuine. I do own the domain NaturalHealthAffiliate.com
I don’t need a certificate because I can prove it’s mine. I have it listed on Flippa.com for Auction.
Right now it has a reserve price of 14,000, but bidding starts at 1.00.
You can get a certified domain after you purchase it or, if you purchase it, and you want me to do that after the purchase money is in Flippa Escrow, I’ll do it for you.
As far as independent Valuations go, that is in your court if you want to do it.
I’ve written up a letter on Flippa about NaturalHealthAffiliate.com to give anyone an idea of the Value.
If you want me to, I’ll put a buy it now button for 15,000.00 and you can purchase it right away if you like.
Otherwise, I’ll just wait until someone meets the 14,000 reserve and see if the bids go higher.
To your health and happiness,
Below is the email I got back!
“Sorry, but looks like you never sold a domain to a professional investor. You don’t understand what the certification means.
The certificate must include two essential things:
1. Independent manual valuation of the market price. My client does not trust automated valuations. The expert evaluation will help to determine the true value of your domain’s worth so you can maximize profits during the sale.
2. Trademark infringement verification. It proves your domain has no trademark problems.
Simple certificates from Afternic, Estibot, GoDaddy or Sedo don’t work for him. They are generated by scripts and don’t include the TM infringement verification part.
Before we finalize the sale, please send us the certification from a source he knows and trusts. His accounting department won’t be able to issue the payment without it. My buyer needs the certificate for accounting/tax purposes.
It’s a common practice to provide buyers with appraisal certificates. There are no other methods if you are going to sell your domain to a professional investor. The certificate will increase the value of your domain so it’s worth spending several bucks on it.
The certificate increases the value of your domain .Without it you can sell your domain for $200-$300 only. So sooner or later you will have to order it.”
After reading the email above, there was no doubt in my mind that this was a Domain Buying Scam. In the article I referred to above from BSAlert.com I had read the following.
“now this interested buyer wants ME to become involved in some sort of paid valuation of the domain prior to this pending, inevitable sale.” BSAlert.com, New Domain Purchase Scam Appearing In Your Inbox“
Notice how the scammer is prepping me in the email he sent as quoted from the email above. “It’s a common practice to provide buyers with appraisal certificates. There are no other methods if you are going to sell your domain to a professional investor. The certificate will increase the value of your domain so it’s worth spending several bucks on it.”
I decided it would be fun to play along with the Scammer so I responded with the following email.
It’s your job to do your due diligence on the domain to see if it’s worth 15,000 to you.
As far as trademarks are concerned, you can check this link
If you do a search at the link above for naturalhealthaffiliate and then natural health affiliate you’ll find there is no trademark even remotely related.
If you are ready to do business, I’m happy to work it out. You can even send me a direct paypal payment and I’ll stop the auction provided there are no bids by the time you pay.
Let me know if this sounds good.
If not, I wish you success with another domain name.
Interestingly enough, I haven’t heard back from the Scammer, and I don’t expect to, as he/she has probably realized at this point, I’m not going to be someone they can scam. If they do reply again, I’ll update this post with the new information.
I hope this article helps you avoid waisting your time and money on something that’s not what it seems to be at first.
I guess this type of Domain Purchasing Scam is becoming more common. Please share your thoughts about Domain Buying Scams like this below, and share this article so others can avoid these types of scams.
Check Out My Domain Portfolio HERE, When You Are Logged In At Flippa.