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Beware the China Domain Name Registration Scam

First reported in 2010, the ‘China domain name registration email scam’ has never entirely gone away. Now it’s rearing its ugly head again. We recently received the email you see below. This scam is so well known, there’s even a Wikipedia page on it, so don’t fall for it.

The Scam

  • You receive an email from someone at .cn, the country code domain for the People's Republic of China
  • They inform you that another company has attempted to register a domain in China with them which contains the targeted (your) domain owner’s company name

While wording may vary, the mail is generally very similar to what you see in the screenshot above, with a few variations, see below.

Dear Manager,

(If you are not the person who is in charge of this, please forward this to your CEO, because this is urgent. Thanks!)

This is Walker Liu (name will vary), Operating Manager of a Network Service Company which is the domain name registration center in Shanghai, China. On May 31, 2021, we received an application from Suoxian Holdings Ltd requested “your domain name” as their internet keyword and China (CN) domain names. But after checking it, we find this name conflict with your company name or trademark. In order to deal with this matter better, it’s necessary to send email to you and confirm whether this company is associated with your company or not?

Kind regards

Walker Liu
Operating Manager
NETCHINA Headquarters
www[.]netchina[.]org
8008, Tianan Building, No. 1399 Jinqiao Road,
Shanghai 200120, China

As you can see, the scammer claims to have halted the registration in order to protect your intellectual property and that if you’re not associated with the company attempting to register these domain names, you need to respond immediately to protect your trademark/company name. Once you’ve taken the bait, the scammer will try to get you to register these domain names with .cn for several years upfront at a hefty price tag. Some people who fell for this scam have received bills for over $4K annually! 

Red Flags

  • No official name given for the "Network Service Company"
  • Website given incorrectly, does not link

Takeaway

  • These emails are from fraudsters 
  • There is no need for any website to register under .cn for any reason

So there you have it: the China domain name scam in a nutshell. Simply ignore these emails and block the senders to avoid further communication!

Pro-Tip

If you receive an email that sounds iffy, do what our employee did after she received this—copy and paste the email message into your web browser search bar. If it's a known scam, you'll most likely find quite a few links to information about it. Lastly, when in doubt always ask your IT department or, if you don't have one, we're happy to help. Just give us a call at 828.274.1152 and ask to speak to a Help Desk specialist.