This happened to me a few days ago and I want to quickly get this out so that others know about this and not fall for it.
Our client is interested in purchasing [domain name]
He is a professional investor with 23 years of experience.
I located your contact information in a domain name whois lookup and understand that you own the domain name.
Are you still interested in selling?
I work for a hosting company based in UK.
I help our clients to buy and sell intellectual properties.
Do you have more names? Can you send a list?
Are you an experienced seller?
123 REG UK
And when you reply that the domain is available for sale, this is the next email.
The buyer is a well known Norwegian entrepreneur and businessman with interests in Internet, mobile phones, television, media, leisure and property.
He offers $12,000.
Do you have a certificate?
He needs this for accounting/tax purposes.
If you don’t have it’s not a problem. You can order it online.
As a professional, he cannot accept it from any agency. Only manual service is accepted.
The certificate must include the following:
1. Independent valuation of the market price. It will show your domain name is not overpriced. On the other hand if the valuation comes higher, he will increase the price accordingly. In the domain name industry, there are many appraisal tools that people use to estimate the value of a domain name. My client does not want to risk and doesn’t accept services that use scripts. If you are unsure about some service feel free to ask me.
2. Trademark infringement verification. It proves your domain has no trademark problems. He would like this verification to be included in the appraisal report. It’s not a problem because some companies include the TM verification for free.
I’m also interested in a good estimate of the market price because he pays me % on each sale.
You can read about certification agencies at http://archive.answers-google.org/answers/threadview/id/9126409.html (“Domain Broker” is my nickname).
The process is very easy:
1. Go to the certificate agency site and order a certificate. Just submit your domains and let them know you have a buyer with $XX,XXX offer. It will help you to get a better valuation.
2. Send it to me and we will start the sale process. As soon as he receives your certificate he will buy your domain via an escrow service. Any escrow service will be able to pay you via Paypal, Wire, Western Union or any other method you prefer.
He wants to ensure the safe delivery of the funds to you. Furthermore, since this is our first time conducting any business, I believe that using a third-party escrow service can provide a safe, well defined process.
If you are new to the certification process, I can help you with the step by step instructions.
I’ve done some research and conclude that this is a scam, and it’s not the first time they’ve done this.
Take note that the link provided in the email has the domain name answers-google.org and a quick whois reveals that it does not belong to google. It hides behind a Domain Proxy, and Google does not hide behind whois proxies. Take note that it is a .ORG, not a .COM
You most likely made some changes to this particular domain you received the offer for, like transferring between registrars, updating whois contact information.
Links related to this scam:
The devil is in the details. Do some detective work!
If that helped you, reply in the comments below, so you can help others too, like for instance, what action did you last perform on the particular domain (most likely a few days ago.)