Domain Name scams – 2 just this week!

Domain scams are still running rampant. Here are 2 that were pulled on me this week. I’m going to delete the actual domain names out of these emails so I don’t tamper with their search engine results in the future.

#1. I received an email trying to sell me the .com version of a .ca domain name I own.

Our company specializes in acquiring expired domain names to help individuals and businesses protect their brand online.

The domain name ____.COM expired recently and we were able to secure it.

We noticed that you own ____.CA and felt that you may be interested in acquiring the .COM version of your existing domain name.

It is available for a one-time fee of only $99.00 USD.

To purchase or learn more, please visit http://zipdomains.com/buy.php?domain=____.com

At first I thought – hmmm – I was thinking about dumping my .ca version now that I don’t sell the product anymore. However the affiliate income from the site has picked up over the last year. Maybe it would be worth $99 to secure the .com version? The site was my biggest competitor a few years ago.

So I clicked on the link to see what the details were, and quickly realized that no where did it mention actually transfering the domain name to my ownership at all. Were they just going to lease it to me year by year? This seemed fishy. I Googled ‘Zip Domains’ and quickly learned that these people don’t often own the domains at all! I leaped over to GoDaddy.com, where I purchase my domains, and did a search for the domain name in question. It was available! I quickly scooped it up for just over $12 Canadian. And to think how many people probably fall for this one when the domain name is actually freely available!! I’ll have to develop this site soon because there are lots of links up on the web for the site. Could be a nice little trickle of income.

#2. I got an email saying:

Hi,

my name is Brandon Birdwell and I would be interested in buying your domain ____.COM from you. Are you interested in selling it? If yes, how much would you want for it? What payment method would you prefer?

And just in case you are wondering how I got your email, anyone can get that info at whois.net

Regards,

Brandon Birdwell

Hmm. Odd. First glance, seems legit, but I’m incredibly skeptical. I Googled his name and found nothing out of the ordinary. I Googled his name again with the word ‘domain’ and still nothing out of the ordinary. It seems weird to me that the domain name is all in capital letters, as if this email was created by a bot that grabbed domain names in capital letters from WHOIS records. It also seems odd that the letter is defensive about how they got my contact info. And why mention what payment method I prefer when I haven’t agreed to sell it? Still a skeptic, I Googled “I would be interested in buying your domain”. BINGO! Several other people with the same email, word for word, with different names. It seems this person is looking for people wanting to sell by Paypal. I don’t know if they plan to reverse the payment after they have the domain name, or what this particular scheme is, but I’m out.

Be careful with your domain names! It is better to be skeptical than taken as a fool!

Lisa

Lisa (Verkley) Schuyler is a blogger reporting live from her new home in Canada’s Yukon Territory. Often found wearing a hoodie, covered in pet hair, Lisa is a mis-placed forester who now spends her days engineering happiness for WordPress users. Lisa loves nature, animals, and most importantly, her handsome husband Jeff.

48 Replies to “Domain Name scams – 2 just this week!

  1. i rec’d the same email… Mr Birdwell is a busy guy. Not that i have any plans to sell the BlogToGreat.com domain.

    thanks, i will post a similar warning to my readers.

  2. I got two of the same emails today as well and thought they were fishy…first one I thought maybe it was just a random interested buyer as I have had those before. But when I got the second email for a different domain with a different name I knew it was some kind of scam.

    First name I got was:

    Peter Bauer

    The second was the same as you got:

    Brandon Birdwell

    f’n scammers…

  3. Yep I got the email as well, good detective work Lisa.

    I also found your blog by Googling Mr Birdwell. He’s giving you some good traffic by the looks LOL.

  4. I’m not sure I understand what the scam is here? I got the same email this morning – but all that shows is that he’s using some sort of a bot (or outsource workers).

    I’ve sold a domain in the past for $15,000 that pretty much started off with this small of a beginning.

    And, heck, I’ve *bought* domains starting with a similiar message too.

    So, I dunno – I’m gonna follow through with Birdwell and see what happens. There’s a whole business out there around buying & selling domain names.

    Harris

  5. Good morning (5:24 am) South African time just got an email from Mr Brandon …wanting to buy my domain… started doing some investigative work and landed here !!! :)…. thank you kindly …. i think i will play this game out with Mr Brandon and see what else i can find out about him …. Cheers !!!

  6. I too received Mr Birdbrain’s email. I can usually tell the scammers because of the less than perfect English.
    I sure wish these scammers would would get a life.

    Ps found this post by searching the scammers name. Thanks

  7. I found this blog entry by searching for “brandon birdwell” and then by searching for “brandon birdwell scam”. I received three at the same time seemingly in alphabetical order – always a clue.

    Can’t be bothered to work out the scam but suffice to say that Brandon Birdwell is offering to buy domains but is not genuine.

  8. Thank God I done a quick Google search!
    I to received an email from Brandon Birdwell – I am so glad to have found this site!

    I cant work out what the scam is here? Does he plan to take your domain names and not pay? Anyone taking his email further?

    Thanks for the head up!

  9. Googled “Brandon Birdwell” (28,000 searches) but included the word “scam” and Lisa’s site was the second listed. Thanks for the help!

    From the onset, I was very suspicious of the lower case “m” of the word “my”, which starts off the body of “his” letter.

    Also, my domain names are private and not listed on whois either!

    If anyone finds Mr. Birdwell though, tell him I have some land to sell. Since the Brooklyn Bridge has already been sold 2.3 million times, and it’s uncertain who owns it on any given day, I’ll sell him something more tangible: the land on either side of it! LOL

  10. Thanks for posting this, Lisa. Just got an email from Brandon Birdwell today.

    What’s interesting is I just sold a domain name to someone but the interaction in that case was entirely different. It was film producer who wanted the domain name because he was filming a documentary with the same name as the domain I owned. He was gracious and appreciative from the beginning. The whole transaction went smoothly.

    Because I like the topic of his documentary he and I are keeping in touch in case I can assist him with publicity (I do PR and viral marketing).

    Guess I’m lucky to have a positive experience to use as a comparison. Yeah the Brandon thing has an entirely different vibe.

    Smells like Eau du Scam.

    Best
    Judy Murdoch
    Highly Contagious Marketing
    Denver, CO

  11. Yep – just another ‘me too’ message – I got the email from Mr. Birdwell today, got suspicious for the same reasons everyone else did, and landed here looking for information.

  12. Return-Path: brandon.birdwell9@gmail.com>
    Delivery-Date: Wed, 11 Mar 2009 23:52:02 +0100
    Received-SPF: neutral (mxeu3: 208.69.122.200 is neither permitted nor denied by domain of gmail.com) client-ip=208.69.122.200; envelope-from=brandon.birdwell9@gmail.com; helo=eatfire.nexcess.net;
    Received: from eatfire.nexcess.net (eatfire.nexcess.net [208.69.122.200])
    by mx.kundenserver.de (node=mxeu3) with ESMTP (Nemesis)
    id 0MKqIe-1LhXHL2qji-000X29 for 11 Mar 2009 23:52:02 +0100
    Received: (qmail 12310 invoked by uid 108); 11 Mar 2009 22:32:30 -0000
    Received: from unknown (HELO lynksiseastlinkca) (admin fastbooster.com 24.222.131.226)
    by eatfire.nexcess.net with ESMTPA; 11 Mar 2009 22:32:30 -0000
    Return-Path: brandon.birdwell9@gmail.com

    Interesting that your MX record is in the relay for this message!

    It maybe that you are being used as an unauthorised relay check your mail server

    I advised you and other people posted here to report the matter to gmail (google) as spam / fishing mail and look into why you are in the relay path…. 🙂

  13. Received the exact offer for a 1-888-# domain. My first thought was its the company I order appraisals from.
    Sounds fishy anyway. Probably a new tact from those clowns in Nigeria and elsewhere trying to get personal info.

  14. Another me too!

    Reply and he’ll probably send you a check for $20,000 for the domain, but only if you western union him back $5,000 the same day.

  15. You’re right. Something smells fish, and it isn’t the TUNA! I saw this scam about 9 years ago in 1999, only it was a different name, and they used a yahoo email account. But when I sold a site for $2,000,000 a couple of years ago, I felt I may of undervalued it. 🙁

  16. Wow, aren’t some of you getting a bit over-excited.

    Granted, this is more than likely a scam, but domain ownership and the transfer process is quite safe and secure. And should you decide to transfer, handle it through your Registrar (read more here: http://help.godaddy.com/topic/609) or through escrow if you’re a DIYer (read more here: (https://www.escrow.com/solutions/domain_name/process.asp).

    And for heaven’s sake, wasting your time blabbing on about this like you’re all helpless victims is absurd and only distorts and convolutes the safety that exists.
    ________________________________________________________________________________________

    That said, it’s nice to have blog posts letting us know “Birdwell” is a possible scammer, so we don’t waste time.
    ________________________________________________________________________________________

    Keep your registration info up to date with your registrar and your domains locked will keep you safe from the boogy man should he come calling … and, really “cigarguy” … would you REALLY waste time tracking this … then what!

  17. I received the same email, I sent a report to the Internet Police – Internic and requested them follow up on it.

  18. On 3/11/09, I also received this exact email. Something is very odd about this. Bad news, this guy.

  19. Yes I too received an email regarding a 1-G….com domain name.
    I googled to find this post but I agree with MitchB above. So I emailed back to see what happens.
    I’ll report back if I get a response. I should put a price of $2M like Charlie Star above eh? 😉
    Lordy

  20. I have also just received an email.

    These scams are very common, all he will do is ask you if your name is for sale (which he did). You then reply with yes it is for sale, this is my asking price or make me an offer. Then they will reply with something like, ok, I’m prepared to purchase your domain for £500K, but before i do so I would like to get it valued using ” X Company ” (X Company being them). They will say some crap like its only $49, next thing you know you’ve folked out $49 for a fake appraisal and guess what… No more communication from the scammer!

    Just my two pence worth guys.

    Regards, BG

  21. HI,
    Just received the same email. This guy is busy! Somebody please inform gmail to shut down his account. Sounds like a Nigerian scam…

    His email is brandon.birdwell9@gmail.com
    Care to drop a little note to this con-man?

  22. I received the same email last week from Brandon Birdwell wanting to buy one of my domain names. I’ve received emails out of the blue like this in the past. I actually did sell one a couple of years ago for $750 that started out much like this. I always reply back and tell them to make me an offer. Most of course never respond back and a few expect you to sell a good domain for practically nothing.

    Anyway, I replied to My. Birdwell’s email last Wednesday and asked him to make me an offer. Well I received his reply this morning and all it said was “200,000?”.

    At first I thought, “It’s party time!!!”. But then I thought to myself, this can’t be legitimate. So I started searching around the web to see what I could find out about this Mr. Birdwell and stumbled upon this site. I guess it was too good to be true. Be careful out there.

    Regards,
    Barry Reeves

  23. I just got the same email from Mr. Birdwell. Thank you so much for posting this. Much like most of you, I was skeptical, but I could use the extra money 🙂

    Take Care
    Matt

  24. Very glad I’m not alone! Mr Birwell can have my domain for 10 million and I’ll share it with you all 🙂
    glad I googled his name. Although it makes a nice change not to get an email trying to sell me pills to improve my……….. 😉
    best wishes
    Tim

  25. I got the “do you want to sell your domain name” message too. Of course, I’ve gotten these types of emails from real people actually interested in a name, and sometimes they actually buy, but the domain he was asking about expired 7 months ago — I don’t own it anymore.

  26. I’ve got the same email but not from Mr. Brandon Birdwell, this time is from Mr. Kevin Parker. I guess Mr. Birdwell got competitor now lol…

  27. thanks — I got the same email, only I was being asked for just $30 for the domain. IAfter reading the accounts above, I checked, and could buy the domain through my usual account and got it for $7.97!

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