You know about the Nigerian-royalty bank-scam letters, right? Here’s a new one that I nearly fell for tonight.
The scam involves an entity that poses as the “department of registration service in China.” The email I received tonight, signed “Howie Gao, Senior Consultant” tried to convince me that my trademark for “The Solopreneur Life” was under attack overseas, and I needed to respond within 7 days in order to protect it.
I was vulnerable to the fraud because I received the trademark three weeks ago, and I’m still excited about having gotten it. My heart rate jumped immediately after reading “Mr. Gao’s” email. I wanted to respond right away, but I had the good sense to do some digging first.
I did about 15 minutes of online research, starting with the domain name in the email. I looked at domain-name records and discovered the name of the entity behind the fraud: ShangHaiFengWangWangLuoKeJi CO.LTD. I learned that it owns at least 59 other domains and has sent the same letter to other businesses worldwide.
Excellent Advice From Will Chen of Wise Bread
The scam followed the pattern described in this article written by Will Chen of Wise Bread. Chen’s extremely informative article, published at OpenForum.com, describes scams that pose as governmental entities.
I heeded Chen’s advice, which is to not respond to the emails: “If you respond to one letter, you might be marked as an “easy target” and receive additional –- and perhaps more dangerous –- solicitations in the future.”
The writer of this article didn’t have the good fortune of reading Chen’s advice. The writer describes what happened when he responded to the same letter I received.
Below is my letter from “Mr. Gao,” in its entirety.
You are now forewarned. Please alert your network of business friends to this scam and send them to Chen’s article.
The Chinese Government Scam Letter
Subject: Concerning ” thesolopreneurlife” Application
Date: April 20, 2011 10:41:40 PM CDT
We are the department of registration service in China. we have something need to confirm with you. We formally received an application on April 20, 2011, One company which is called “Oalie Trading co. ltd” is applying to register “thesolopreneurlife” as brand name and domain names as below :
After our initial checking, we found the brand name and these domain names being applied are as same as your company’s, so we need to confirm with your company. If the aforesaid company is your business partner or your subsidiary company, please DO NOT reply us, we will approve the application automatically.
If you have no any relationship with this company, please contact us within 7 workdays. If out of the deadline, we will approve the application submitted by “Oalie Trading co. ltd” unconditionally.
Have You Had Encounters With Small-Business Scams?
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