China domain name registration scam is still being carried out by scammers. Although the scam was first reported in 2010, the fraudsters behind it are still finding a way to try and mislead gullible viewers into paying for a domain name that is not needed. While this scam has been widely reported and also has a Wikipedia page on it, not many people seem to be aware of how it works.
How the China Domain Name Registration Scam Works?
The scam usually involves a mail to domain owners from .cn that is from registrars based in China claiming that another company has just attempted to register a domain with them which contains the targeted domain owner's trademark. The mail usually reads as follows:
(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 could be different), 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?
8008, Tianan Building, No. 1399 Jinqiao Road,
Shanghai 200120, China
If gullible users do respond to the email, the scammer will claim to have halted the registration in order to protect the targeted individual's intellectual property, and if the email recipient doesn't recognize the entity attempting to register these domain names, that they should respond immediately to protect their trademark. If the targeted individual responds by email or by phone, the scammer will then try to get them to register these domain names involving .cn for several years upfront with the registrar running this scam.
There have been several blog posts from domain owners regarding this incident, and some of them claim to have received a bill amounting to over 3000 pounds every year. Users are informed that these emails are from fraudsters, and there is no need for any website to register under .cn for any reason. Such emails should be ignored and also blocked to avoid further communication.