WARNING:

Domain Scam back in circulation

(and a hilarious story!)

Fun with a Domain “Appraisal” Scammer

by Gene Pimentel

There have been many domain scams circulating the web for years… one of the most prolific scams is where you receive a legitimate-looking email from a company that pretends to be interested in buying your domain name.

The reality is, once you begin negotiating, they will promise to buy your domain immediately if it appraises to the price you’re asking. Sounds reasonable, but their only goal is to steer you to an appraisal service they either own or profit from in some way. Once you buy the appraisal, you’ll never hear from this ‘buyer’ again. They play this game thousands of times per week and make a virtual killing.

Please be careful not to fall into this trap. Never, ever, buy an appraisal for a domain name to satisfy a potential buyer. In all my years of selling domains, I have NEVER been asked for an appraisal from a legitimate prospect, but hundreds of times from scammers.

The one that seems to have revived recently is this one:

domainsecondhand-com (that is a 100% scam site).

This is only one of many. There are many variations, and they’re out in droves.

What follows next is my actual email conversation with this scammer. I hope you get as much of a chuckle out of it as I did ūüôā

Gene


October 20

Scammer:

Hello,

Our company is interested in your domain name. What is your price?

We have a solid investing budget and our company is very interested in Internet names and web sites.

If you have other domains for sale feel free to send your list.

Looking forward to do business with you.

Regards,

Bradford Whitman

CEO

Domain & Web Site Brokerage

October 20

My Reply:

Hello Bradford,

(edited).com is selling for the bargain price of only $3,500,000.00.

Payment accepted in silver dollars only.

Gene

 

October 20

Scammer:

Can you accept 3,400,000.00 USD?

Do you sell domain with a website or just the name?

Domain without content is ok with me. Website is not necessary.

Have you had your domain names evaluated in the past? I mean domain appraisals. Without valuation we cannot be sure in the sale price. It’s very important for me in terms of reselling too. But we must engage a valuation company with REAL manual service. So I will only accept valuations from independent sources I and my partners trust.

To avoid mistakes I asked domain experts about reputable appraisal companies.

Please check this blog with suggestions from other sellers and buyers: (another scam site created for this deception)

If, for example, the valuation comes higher you can adjust your asking price accordingly. It will be fair.
I also hope you can give me 12% – 15% discount.

After you send me the valuation via email (usually it takes 1-2 days to obtain it) we’ll continue our
negotiations.

What is your preferred payment method: Escrow.com, International wire transfer, PayPal.com or something else?

Hope we can come to an agreement fast.

Looking forward to your reply.

Regards,

Bradford Whitman

 

October 21

My Reply:

Hello Bradford,

Sorry, but I’m sticking to my guns. I want $3,500,000.00, not $3,400,000.00. Just send the payment to my address in the whois record. Remember, I accept Silver Dollars only. Once I receive the payment, I’ll transfer the domain to you immediately. Please allow 3 days for me to count the coins.

Best,

Gene

 

 

October 22

Scammer:

No problem,

It’s a standard practice to show independent valuation to buyers/resellers. Nobody will do business without it. I’m a businessman and have no intention of changing rules which help both parties to avoid
additional risks.

Of course, investors never take into account auto-generated valuations. So manual valuation is a “must” too.

I read the following information about appraisals at (link to same scam site)

Thank you for understanding. I’m looking forward to do business with you.

Bradford Whitman

 

October 22

My Reply:

Dear Bradford,

Thank you so much for this opportunity. $3,500,000.00 will surely come in handy. I need a new car. Oh, and I think I’ll splurge and buy me a new iPod too.

I love Silver dollars, don’t you? They’re SO shiny. I just hope I’ll be able to count them all without losing count halfway through, that would be a bummer! By the way, do you sell coin-counting machines? If you do, send one along and just deduct the cost from the total.

I looked at the site you linked me to. Quite impressive! My only problem is that I can’t read. It’s an unfortunate part of my upbringing — long story. I can write with no problem, but I cannot read to save my life! I have to have everything read to me by my assistant, but she is currently in the hospital having a hangnail removed. You know how painful those can be.

Anyway, I’m anxious to do business! My address again is in the whois info. I know $3,500,000.00 worth of silver dollars is going to be a very heavy package, but I think there’s enough room in my garage. I’ve already cleared a space and set up 12 banquet tables.

I figure I’ll have my friends come over and help me count to speed the process. I don’t mind if they pocket a few for themselves. The BEST part is, since the 12 banquet tables will already be set up, we can CELEBRATE and have a big feast after we’re done counting! I’d like to invite you to celebrate with us… just give me a call!

Thanks again,

Gene

 

 

October 22

Scammer:

As a seller, you should provide me with an appraisal first. This is a reasonable practice. I’ve found not all the appraisals are accurate. So I accept real manual appraisals from trusted sources only. I don’t trust $14-$20 services. Nobody will do research for $14. We need a real manual service. I researched several companies and here are the results:

(here he lists four legitimate appraisal services but claims they are fraudulent)

Many experienced sellers suggested us http://www.(edited).com as a trustworthy manual service. They¬† charge per name not per hour. We’ve read only positive comments about them.

And I have my own positive experience with this company and their support.

Bradford

 

 

October 23

My Reply:

Hello again Bradford,

Thanks for getting back to me, I’ve been waiting all day. I’m very sad that after all our emails you haven’t agreed to my request for silver dollars. Let me know if you agree, then I will have the domain appraised for you. I have to cut this short because I haven’t been to the bathroom all day, waiting for you. I really¬† have to go now.

Bye,

Gene

 

 

October 23

Scammer:

No deal without appraisal from a trusted source. This simple rule has saved me a lot of money and time. Feel free to contact me when you change your position and let’s do business the right way.

 

October 23

My Reply:

Hi again Bradford,

I must have typed my last message too fast for you to keep up with because I said I would get an appraisal. I’m typing this message much slower so you don’t miss anything this time.

A friend of mine let me know that 3.5 million silver dollars would weigh over 103 tons, and  recommended this method of transportation:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antonov_An-225

Another option would be for me to fly to your location and spend the silver dollars there. We could go shopping together! Wouldn’t that be fun? The first thing I’d do is buy you a conscience. Let me know¬† what you think.

Gene

 

October 23

Scammer:

Show me the appraisal

 

 

October 23

My Reply:

Say ‘please’.

Gene

 

October 23

Scammer:

(NOTE: I think my buddy Bradford has caught on to me. His latest email now contained only TWO words. I think you can guess the words. It rhymes with Yuck Foo.)

 

October 23

My Reply:

Sorry, that’s not negotiable.


Haven’t heard back from him since. I kinda miss him.

Gene