Chinese Domain Name Registration Scams

In the middle of December 2012 an individual in China calling himself simply “John” attempted to scare me into registering the .asia, .cn, .com.cn, .net.cn and .org.cn versions of my website’s address using a Chinese Domain Name Scam. The individual responsible is almost certainly one Pan Xiaohong of Shanghai, who failed to convince me to purchase a single thing from him.

Chinese Domain Name Scams

Too Long; Didn’t Read?

    1. It’s a scam
    2. Delete it
    3. There’s no need to register these domain names through your usual registrar
    4. If you ask your usual registrar they will probably use FUD (fear uncertainty and doubt) to encourage you to spend money with them as most registrars are not much better than these scammers

The Long Version…

Here’s an email I received before Christmas from info@ygnetworksit.com:

Dear Manager,

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

This email is from China domain name registration center, which mainly deal with the domain name registration in China. We received an application from BaoYuan Ltd on December 17, 2012. They want to register ” squelchdesign ” as their internet keyword and China/Asia (CN/ASIA) domain names. But after checking it, we find this name conflicts with your company. In order to deal with this matter better, so we send you email and confirm whether this company is your distributor or business partner in China or not?

Best Regards

John
General Manager
Shanghai Office (Head Office)
3002, Nanhai Building, No. 854 Nandan Road,
Xuhui District, Shanghai 200070, China
Tel: +86 216191 8696
Mobile: +86 1870199 4951
Fax: +86 216191 8697
Web: www.ygnetworkit.com

An odd email; Lots of broken English and things that don’t entirely make sense if you know anything about my company, but then it could be from a legitimate source that simply hasn’t taken the time to find out more about the company. I figured it had to be suspect, but gave them the benefit of the doubt to see where this was heading:

Hello John,

I’m not 100% sure I am understanding your question fully. BaoYuan are in no way associated with Squelch Design, today is the first time I heard the name.

Yes there would be a conflict if they go ahead and register squelchdesign.cn; Squelch Design does not actively operate in China, but is happy to accept custom from all over the world. I believe registering a company in China with the same name would cause brand confusion and erosion and, given that I went to great lengths to find a name that was not already in use, and having invested a great deal of time and money into Search Engine Optimisation, registering a similarly named website would be very poor etiquette. As far as I can tell BaoYuan are in the chemical/packing materials industry, so it strikes me as odd that they would want to register “squelchdesign” as a domain.

Many thanks,
Matt Lowe

Three days later I got a response. Not from John, but from Lin JianFa – supposedly an employee of BaoYuan – yet using the address jianfa.lin@yahoo.cn:

Dear Sirs,

Our company has submitted the “squelchdesign ” as CN/Asia domain name and Internet Keyword, we are waiting for Mr. John’s approval. We think this name is very important for our products in Chinese and Asian market. Even though Mr. John advises us to change another name, we will persist in this name.

Best regards

Lin JianFa

Immediately I smelt a rat, the style of the speech was absolutely identical to John’s, as was the formatting and with similar incorrect usage of punctuation. I’ve seen this before when I baited a Nigerian 419 scammer a few years back. The fact that this employee of the company was using a Yahoo address was just plain wrong. So far they’d set the scene: They’d heavily implied someone was going to take my company name and start using it, creating brand confusion, but they’d not yet presented a way to get money out of me. So, I carried on playing along:

Lin,

I believe that if you persist in using the name squelchdesign.cn you will only confuse my customers and yours, making it more difficult for my customers to find my website. May I ask what services/business your company would be doing with the name?

Many thanks,
Matt Lowe

That was the last I heard from Lin. John, however, did send me more emails:

Dear Matt ,

Based on your company having no relationship with them, we have suggested they should choose another name to avoid this conflict but they insist on this name as CN/Asia domain names (.asia and .cn and .com.cn and .net.cn and .org.cn) and internet keyword on the internet. In our opinion, maybe they do the similar business as your company and register it to promote his company.
According to the domain name registration principle: The domain names and internet keyword which applied based on the international principle are opened to companies as well as individuals. Any companies or individuals have rights to register any domain name and internet keyword which are unregistered. Because your company haven’t registered this name as CN/ASIA domains and internet keyword on the internet, anyone can obtain them by registration. However, in order to avoid this conflict, the trademark or original name owner has priority to make this registration in our audit period. If your company is the original owner of this name and want to register these CN/ASIA domain names (.asia and .cn and .com.cn and .net.cn and .org.cn) and internet keyword to prevent anybody from using them, please inform us. We can send an application form and the price list to you and help you register these within dispute period.

Kind regards

John
General Manager
Shanghai Office (Head Office)
3002, Nanhai Building, No. 854 Nandan Road,
Xuhui District, Shanghai 200070, China
Tel: +86 216191 8696
Mobile: +86 1870199 4951
Fax: +86 216191 8697
Web: www.ygnetworkit.com

Note the good cop/bad cop thing that he has going on with Lin; He’s doing me a favour by telling me they want to encroach on my company’s name.

The guys over at TechRepublic received an incredibly similar email back in 2009. Over at HoaxSlayer other people have reported, pretty much word for word, the exact same emails I have shown here. Even Wikipedia has an article on this scam. But I carried on playing along, curious to see how much he wanted to fleece me for:

Hi John,

How long is the dispute period?

Many thanks,
Matt Lowe

 

Dear Matt ,

The checking time will be over soon, we have not received your reply about the domain name and internet keyword since our last communication. You must know domain name takes open registration, this is international domain name registration principle. So the company has right to register them. As a domain name registrar, we have no right to refuse their application. We aslo suggest this company should change another name but they stick to this name so if your company want to prevent anybody from using these domains, the only way is to register these CN/ASIA domains and internet keyword. In our checking time, your company has first priority to register them. Could you tell us whether your company want to make this application to prevent anybody from using them or not?

Best Regards

John

 

Hi John,

Thanks for the reply. How much would it cost?

Many thanks,
Matt Lowe

And now, the moment of truth:

Dear Matt:

Thanks for your reply. If you would like to protect by yourself and according to our checking progress,
we will send an application blank to you. After you fill in it, you need to send it back to us. When we
received you information we will overrule their application and register for you in one day. And the
registration fee for CN domain is 38.8 USD year, ASIA domain is 36.6 USD per year, internet keyword
is 148 USD per year. If you want to protect yourself, I am very glad to help you. Right now, the checking
is going to the end, please reply in two working days.

Have a nice day .

Best Regards

John

So back in his first email he suggested BaoYuan wanted to register squelchdesign.asia, squelchdesign.cn, squelchdesign.com.cn, squelchdesign.net.cn, squelchdesign.org.cn, and the internet keyword “squelchdesign”. That’s one .asia, four .cn domains, and one Internet keyword. That comes to a total of $339.80 USD or approximately £214.

The moral of the story is if you get an email from China (or anywhere else for that matter) warning you that someone is trying to muscle in on your business’s name, be very careful. Very very careful indeed. Here’s the registration details for the scammer’s company:

pan xiaohong
lichenfang@zjedu.org
tel: 13661529704
fax: 02162961557
shanghaixingqunandanlu
shanghai,shanghai,CN
200010

I’m 99% sure that “John” is a fictitious character and that Pan Xiaohong is in fact the perpetrator. So maybe if you get an email from this John character, maybe try replying with “Hi Pan”, and see what happens? ;) Take care of your businesses guys.


Update 28/08/2013

The comments section below is getting pretty long as more and more people find this blog and send in the emails they received. As such I’m going to try and summarise the information in the comments below.

You might get emails from any of the following companies: YIGUAN, YIGUDNS, YIGUTEK, YGITECH or the domain names www.ygnetworkit.com, www.yiguannetwork.com, www.yigudns.com, www.yigutek.com, www.ygitech.com, www.cnygregistry.net, www.ygregistryltd.net, www.ygasia.org, www.ygcompany.org, pxisp.net or des-registry.org.
They might use one of the following names: John, Jim, Terry Tang, Peter Cheng, James Zhang, Simon Cheng, Gary Zhang, Mika Cao, Lan Du, Lex Ren, Jim Ying, Bill Cheng, Mark Wong or Abby Wang.
They might claim that the company attempting to register the domain is: BaoYuan Ltd, Weisheng company, Weisheng Holdings Ltd, Taisheng Limited, PengCheng Trading Co. Ltd, Huasheng Ltd, Huafeng Ltd or Kenpoco Ltd. Note that some, perhaps even all, of these companies are legitimate Asian companies and the scammers are simply using their names to try and give credibility to their claims.
You might be contacted by someone claiming to be from one of the companies above, usually using a Yahoo or Hotmail email address rather than a legitimate business address: Lin JianFa, Warren Chiou, Darren Chiou or Jiang Zhifa.

If you received an email with slightly different wording or from a different company then please feel free to post it in the comments section below so I can update the blog and we can all stay one step ahead of the scam.

About Matt Lowe

Matt Lowe is a WordPress web designer / developer based in Newbury, Berkshire. After 8 years of doing the nine-to-five for other companies and watching them make the same mistakes over and over he set out in business on his own, forming Squelch Design to help businesses get online and make money.

1,186 comments on “Chinese Domain Name Registration Scams

  1. Thank you for writing this article! I received one on the 1st September 2017.

    ___________________________________

    First Email:

    Dear CEO,

    (If you are not the person who is in charge of this, please forward this to your CEO, because this is urgent. If this email affects you, we are very sorry, please ignore this email. Thanks)

    We are a Network Service Company which is the domain name registration center in China.
    We received an application from Hua An Ltd on August 28, 2017. They want to register ” jakepascoe ” as their Internet Keyword and ” jakepascoe .cn “、” jakepascoe .com.cn ” 、” jakepascoe .net.cn “、” jakepascoe .org.cn ” 、” jakepascoe .asia ” domain names, they are in China and Asia domain names. But after checking it, we find ” jakepascoe ” conflicts with your company. In order to deal with this matter better, so we send you email and confirm whether this company is your distributor or business partner in China or not?

    Best Regards,

    Jim | Service Manager

    Domain Registry China (Head Office)

    8006, Xinlong Building, No. 415 WuBao Road, Shanghai 201105, China

    Tel: +86-2161918696 | Fax: +86-2161918697 | Mob: +86-1582177 1823

    Web: www(dot)domainregistrychina(dot)net
    ___________________________________

    My Response:

    Jim

    This business is in no way related to mine, and I would not like this to happen.
    Thanks for getting in contact.

    Thanks,
    Jake

    ___________________________________

    Their 2nd Email:

    Dear Sirs,

    Our company based in chinese office, our company has submitted the ” jakepascoe ” as CN/ASIA(.asia/.cn/.com.cn/.net.cn/.org.cn) domain name and Internet Keyword, we are waiting for Mr. Jim’s approval. We think these names are very important for our business in Chinese and Asia market. Even though Mr. Jim advises us to change another name, we will persist in this name.

    Best regards

    Lin jianfeng

    ___________________________________

    Thanks again!

  2. Thank you for your article!
    I received the following mail from Charles Yuan, maybe you can help me?

    Dear sir or madam,

    We are an agency for registering domain names authorized by Chinese government. Today, our center received an application from Amy Lead Int’l Co.,Ltd applying to register XXXXXX as their brand name and some top-level domain names(.CN .HK etc). After our careful investigation, We found the main body of domain names is same as yours. As a professional registrar, We are obligated to inform you of this situation.

    We are handling the application and we need to confirm whether or not you authorize them to register them? Let me know your answer ASAP so as to solve this promptly. Thanks for your cooperation.

    Best regards,

    Charles Yuan
    Tel:0086-551-6349-1193
    Fax:0086-551-6349-1192
    Address:Building 2,Zhidi Square,No.288,Huaining Road,Hefei Anhui

  3. So this happened to me today as well. These people just don’t stop. I will just be ignoring them.

    Dear Sir/ Ms.

    We are a domain name registration service agency. Our center received an application from Nicole Lau International today. They applied to register xxxxxxxxxx as their Brand Name and applied for several top-level domains. However, the main body of these names is same as your company name. We’re not sure about your relationship with this company.

    Now we are processing this application. Our center needs to confirm whether the application is authorized by your company. If so, we will proceed with their registration. If not, please inform us as soon as possible in order to take the next step. We await your prompt reply.

    Regards,

    Sean Lin
    Tel: 0086-551-6349-1193
    Fax: 0086-551-6349-1192
    Building 2,Zhidi Square,No.288,Huaining Road,Hefei Anhui

  4. I’ve been playing around with these scammers for a couple of weeks now. It’s become a little hobby of mine (I don’t get out much).

    First I asked them a few questions to keep them busy. Then I asked for a quote for a different period of registration period (might as well make them do a bit of work). I didn’t bother to fill out their application form – I told them my accounts department needed an invoice to pay them. That’s just arrived. If you’re an evil hacker then please feel free to make use of their bank account details:

    Account: 1001 7286 0914 8004 261
    Name: Shanghai Y G Co., Ltd
    Address: 8006, Xinlong Building, No. 415 WuBao Road, Shanghai 201105, China
    SWIFT: ICBK CNBJSHI

    I think I’ll tell them the payment won’t go through and can they check the details or give us another account.

    Such fun!

  5. I got one, too! Thanks for sharing your experience. I’m not going to play along with them, though I am tempted. Anyway, here’s what I got:

    “Dear Manager,

    Regarding registration of your company name composttealab, hereby send the confirmation letter, please read it carefully.

    We are an agency engaging in registering brand name and domain names. Today, Our center received an application from PunRin Company and they apply to register composttealab as their brand name and some top-level domain names(.CN .HK etc). We found the main body of domain names is same as your company name. I am not sure about the relationship between you and them. Please tell me whether or not your company authorizes them to register names.

    We are dealing with the application and we need to confirm whether you have authorized them? If you don’t authorize them, please reply me an e-mail. Looking forward to your reply.

    Best regards,
    Farrah Wan | Service & Operations Manager
    Tel:+0086-5538-366231 || Fax:+0086-5538-366231

    This e-mail are confidential and may contain information that is exempt from disclosure by law and subject to copyright.
    P please consider the environment before printing this e-mail”

  6. I received this today – 9th Sept 2017

    Dear Director,

    The AquadecorUK name registration is concerned with your company name,please check it prudently.

    This is a letter regarding AquadecorUK brand and some AquadecorUK based domain registrar. We are a Chinese domain registrar. Recently we received the registration application from Shenzhen KING Co. Limited,they want to register the AquadecorUK brand and some domain names. Firstly,we want to confirm if the company is your company’s cooperative partner. Secondly,we need to verify whether you have allowed the company to apply these names.

    Looking forward to your reply

    Best Regards

    Tracy Chen
    General Manager of Registration department
    Address:No. 178 Changjiang Road,Hefei
    230000,China
    Tel: (+86) 0739-5215980
    FAX: (+86) 0739-5215980

  7. From: joe@cn-nic.asia
    Sent: 9/8/2017 6:46:02 P.M. Pacific Daylight Time
    Subj: About ” xxxxxxxx ” Nmae International

    (Please forward this to your CEO or President, because this is urgent. )

    Dear President & CEO,

    This email is from China Intellectual Property Office, which mainly deal with InternationalTrademark and Domain Name etc. There are some things to confirm with you: We received an application from RMSQ Investment Co., Ltd. They want to register “xxxxxxx” as their International Trademark and some domain names(.asia/.cn/.jp/.hk/.in/.tw).

    We checked and found the keyword is similar to your company’s name. So we inform you to confirm whether this registration will affect and conflict your company in international. If this registration will not affect and conflict your company, then we can finish registering for them as per our duty. If this registration will affect and conflict your company. Please contact us by telephone or email within 7 workdays, so we can better handle the issue. Thanks for your cooperation.

    All the best wishes for you!

    Joe Ren
    International Department/Manager
    China Intellectual Property Rights
    Add:3/F,1st Building ZongFu Street No.47
    Jinjiang District, ChengDu, China.
    Post Code: 610000
    Tel: +86 2887775008
    Fax: +86 2862465008
    Web: www . cn-nic . asia

  8. So happy I found your website. Thanks for your help! I too have been getting a chain of emails from Ian Liu, (email address: ian@chinaregistry.org.cn) about the need to dispute another company’s using my domain name with .CN extensions. I replied 2x, objecting to this other company using my website name with .CN extension. I have not yet asked about pricing and will not waste anymore time on this. Latest email today:

    From: Ian Liu [mailto:ian@chinaregistry.org.cn]
    Sent: Thursday, 7 September, 2017 01:54
    To: xxxxxx@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx.xxx
    Subject: Re:Ian Liu RE: blockconsulting CN domain and keyword

    Dear Patricia Block,

    Hope this email finds you well.

    The dispute period will be over soon but we have not heard from you since our last comunication. Anyone can obtain CN domains (blockconsulting.cn, blockconsulting.com.cn, blockconsulting.net.cn, blockconsulting.org.cn) and internet keyword by registration because your company haven’t registered this name as CN domains and internet keyword on the internet. You must know the domain names and internet keyword based on the international principle are opened to company as well as individual. Also, we have suggested they should choose another name but they insist on this name. As a domain name registrar, we have no rights to refuse their application if they insist. In this situation, we have told your company have priority to register China domain name and internet keyword during our dispute period. Could you tell us whether or not your company want to register these CN domain names and internet keyword to prevent anyone from using them?

    Kind regards
    Ian Liu

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