One of the Most Creative Cons I’ve Found Yet

May 03 2011

The other day I got an email offering a pretty good price for a domain that caught my attention.  It wasn’t a huge amount but it would be a pretty good sale.  One problem.  I had let the domain drop and I no longer owned it. My first instinct was to look who had bought it and buy it back for less and flip it.

Here’s the kicker, after a little homework and I mean little, turns out the guy who offered to buy the domain is the same guy that owns it.  It didn’t take much work to find the guy because he used the same initials in the gmail account he contacted me with as he did in the administrative contact of one of the other domains he owned.  Could it be a coincidence?  Sure, but probably not and here’s how I know.  I had to use the same scam on a guy that screwed me out of payment on ebay.

I had a great set of seat to a Pearl Jam concert a number of years ago in their heyday.  A guy bought them on ebay for $300 bucks a piece and we agreed he would get them in person in Chicago.  They were 5th row and some pretty nice seats.  Long story short, the guy kept saying he’d meet me and eventually stopped returning calls and left me sitting with the tickets the day before.  I decided I better sell them quick and was going to do a quick ebay thing and saw the same guy advertising seats for sale to the concert.  So I used one of my alternate emails and friends ebay account and questioned him about the tickets.  Then I got an idea.  I told him I was in desperate need for great seats and I would pay $500 bucks each if he could find some first row seat and could meet him downtown.  Within an hour my phone rings.  Amazingly the guy wanted those tickets again.  He met me downtown and paid me cash.  When I got home I had an email telling me he had found the tickets and wanted to know where to meet me.  And I never answered.  Fortunately I never crossed paths with the guy and have no idea what he did with the tickets but it leads me back to the domain.

I am pretty sure this is the same scam.  He was hoping I would contact him, buy the domain, and then the other guy would disappear.  He assumes I wouldn’t blame him because he had merely sold me the domain and he had nothing to do with the other guy backing out.  Except he was the other guy as well.  I’d then be stuck with a domain I had previously dropped and paid 40 times it’s value trying to double my money. A pretty good scam that works off the most basic human desire, greed.

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Outsmarting the Dumb, Outworking the Smart

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  1. Michael

    I don’t see why he had to play this kind of game. If you let the name drop, he was free to reg it and approach you with a sale in mind.

    Nice one with the Pearl Jam tickets, though. Nothing worse than people not living up to agreements.

  2. Acro

    Very informative. Reminds me of the infamous 419 check scam: you are sent a check to cash and you supposedly get to keep 20% (or whatever) of it and send the remainder via Western Union to a certain recipient. The check ‘clears’ at the bank, except not really; a few days later it turns up as fake and you lose the money.

    Unless they provide a contact number to discuss matters privately, I redirect all buyers to Sedo.

  3. Attila

    The ticket thing I understand, the guy was just trying to broker the tickets and make some money. But the domain dropping and the new registrant contacting you (through an alias) to make a fake bid just so you would go to the new domain owner (which is himself) to make a few hundred dollars…thats just wrong and unethical.

    I would post their information (domain, complete name, address, phone number, email address) so everyone would see what kind of person he is whenever they search for any of his info. Would be a nice slap in the face. I ought to buy a domain like “hated dot com” and just make a database of what sleazy shit people do along with their info…host it in Malaysia so they can’t just go complain or try make a lawsuit to get the information pulled, lol.

  4. LS Morgan

    I’ve bought pre-releases and drops that have old SEDO ads left up. It’s ridiculously common. If I’m in a foul mood (which is basically 95% of my waking hours), I’ll make a fat, credible appearing offer via the Sedo system on the name they no longer posses. 9 times in 10 of the time, they just cancel the bid thread and delist the name but the other 10% of the time, yes, I get borderline hysterical contacts via whois offering to buy the name, thinking they have some huge whale on the line at Sedo for a name they no longer own.

    So, for those of you who’ve received offers on names you let drop but didn’t delist on the Sedo system, it could’ve been me, or it could’ve been a whopper of a missed opportunity. Either way, for christs sake, delist your damn Sedo ads when you let a name go, please.

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