Don’t Get Scammed!

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There are always scams doing the rounds. Here are two of the most recent that made their way into my inbox that you should be on the look out for. And honestly, some of them make you go “Doh!”

1.  Australian Taxation Office Refund

We all love a refund – interestingly I realised this one was a scam when it arrived before I’d even put my return in for the year! The email comes with Australian Taxation Office (ATO) Refund in the subject line and refund@ato.gov.au as the sender’s email. Here’s the email:

—–Original Message—–
From: refund@ato.gov.au [mailto:refund@ato.gov.au]
Sent: Tuesday, 9 February 2010 11:48 AM
Subject: [SPAM]Australian Taxation Office (ATO) refund

Dear Taxpayer,

After the last annual calculations of your fiscal activity we have determined that you are eligible to receive a tax refund of $650.90.

Please submit the tax refund request and allow us 6-9 days in order to process it.

A refund can be delayed for a variety of reasons.
For example submitting invalid records or applying after the deadline.

To access your tax refund, use the form attached to this email.

Regards,
Australian Taxation Office

There was a document attached to the email. If you receive an email like this, just ditch it. The ATO will not send you a refund notice this way.

2.  Global Domain Name Registration Center, Hong Kong

I received an email directly through my contact form on my website from a delightful lady from APIDNR in Hong Kong along the following lines:

Dear Sir or Madam,

We are a Global Domain Name Registration Center in Hong Kong, mainly dealing with domain name registration and internet intellectual property rights protection. On Jan.26,2010 we received a formal application from a local company of your country who is applying to register some domain names with the keyword “execstress ”as the keyword. After investigation,we find that you are the original user of the keyword. Such similar domain cases may involve your trademark and company name,and may cause website confusion and conflicts. For a responsible attitude, we inform you here and ask for your opinion. If you don’t mind,we will finish registration for the third company.

Look forward to your reply.

Thanks
Juliet Young
Address: 28/F., First Block, New Century Bldg.,
No.18 Finance Street,
Zhonghuan,
Hong Kong
Tel: +852-31757931(ext8001)
Fax: +852-31757932
Website: www.apidnr.com.hk

Initially I contacted her asking her to clarify and she indicated that they were mindful of the potential of conflict and did I consider ‘execstress’ a trademark. I responded that I did since I’d been using it for the last 10 years globally. I then received an email saying:

If you decide to register, we will send you an application form to start your preferential registration.

Alarm bells! This sounded a bit strange! Why would a company acting on behalf of someone else contact me and say ‘Look, we have a client who has asked us to register these names but we see they might be in breach of your intellectual property. So how about you fill in this form and pay us and we’ll register the name for YOU instead!’

I immediately contacted my brilliant IT lawyer and she confirmed it was nothing more than a scam. As she pointed out, why would you undercut your own client by notifying all similar competing businesses of their intentions and to ‘quick get in first before my other client – and I’ll help you!’

If nothing else it did prompt me to pick up the additional domain names I had meant to register but hadn’t gotten around to – and no, I didn’t got through this domain name registrar!

© Lyn Prowse-Bishop, http://www.execstress.com/

2 comments

  1. Kay Jones says:

    Thanks Lyn for your advice. I was panicking big time.

  2. execva says:

    Thanks Kay – yes it looks so legitimate and unless people really check they can be taken in by it. Good on you for actually taking the initiative and checking into it further rather than just accepting what they say!

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