23 Apr The China Scam

For two weeks I’ve been getting emails from a guy named Bob Chen in China. Bob works in the Asian Domain registration department, located in 8/F XiYu building No.52 JinDun Road,QingYang District,Chengdu City, China. In his first email, he wanted to know if I had authorized the "Roris Industrial Co. Ltd" to use my name in a dozen domain names, such as ronaldtanner.asia. My first reaction was, Why would a company named "Roris" use "ronaldtanner" for anything? Well, I’ve seen stranger things and, although I suspected that this might be a scam, I have never been scammed from China. So I gave it a whirl and answered Bob: no, I never authorized anybody to use my name for a domain in China or anywhere else, for that matter.

Bob wrote back and cordially informed me that his office has confirmed that I am indeed the owner of said domain in the U.S. but not in China. He added, "If your company do need to register and protect those domains in China please contact us in time, then we’ll inform you how to register. Or else we think it as your waiver. Thanks for your understanding." So there it was: a pitch to make me pay for registration of a dozen domains that contain my name . . . in China.

Not your typical scam but a scam nonetheless. What makes this one notable is the entreprenuerial spin. Compared to scams coming from Nigeria and the Balkans, this one is subtle insofar as it’s about business, not a million dollar windfall. In fact, it shows much more imagination than those outrageous invitations because it could be legitimate. Do the Chinese register their domains? Does Bob Chen work for a registry?

The truth of the world market right now is that China makes EVERYTHING and, thanks to a humiliating trade imbalance, that nation more or less owns ours.. So, now, as the Chinese burn their four-billion carbon footprints into the earth as they scramble to get all the goodies we got, it seems prudent to pay attention when they drop us an email.

On Friday, Bob sent me an ultimatum: "if your company does not register these domain names and Network Brand, we will finish aforesaid company’s registration within 2 workdays. Roris Industrial Co. Ltd will become the legal owner of these domain names in the world."

Wow, the world.

Maybe Bob will look up my other seven websites and duplicate those domains by the dozen and send me more global threats. More likely, he’ll move on to another business that feels it might have a stake in that roiling, far-easteern, gold-rush frontier.

Until the Chinese get theirs, we’re going to see more of this. But we may take solace in the fact that one day soon Bob Chen will be getting an email query from a domain registry in India, asking if he wants to safeguard his internet rights in the world’s next fastest growing economy.

Read more about Chinese domain name scams here.