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Conversation With a Scammer (domain appraisal scam)

Fun with a domain appraisal scammer

There have been many domain scams circulating the web for years… one of the most prolific scams is where you receive a legitimate-looking email from a company who pretends to be interested in buying your domain name.

The reality is, once you begin negotiating, they will promise to buy your domain immediately if it appraises to the price you’re asking. Sounds reasonable, but their only goal is to steer you to an appraisal service they either own or profit from in some way. Once you buy the appraisal, you’ll never hear from this ‘buyer’ again. They play this game thousands of times per week and make a virtual killing.

Please be careful not to fall into this trap. Never, ever, buy an appraisal for a domain name to satisfy a potential buyer. In all my years of selling domains, I have NEVER been asked for an appraisal from a legitimate prospect, but hundreds of times from scammers.

There are many variations of this scam, and they’re out there in droves.

What follows next is my actual email conversation with this scammer. I hope you get as much of a chuckle out of it as I did ๐Ÿ™‚

Gene


October 20
Scammer:

Hello,

Our company is interested in your domain name. What is your price?

We have a solid investing budget and our company is very interested in Internet names and web sites.

If you have other domains for sale feel free to send your list.

Looking forward to do business with you.

Regards,

Bradford Whitman

CEO

Domain & Web Site Brokerage

 


October 20
My Reply:

Hello Bradford,

(edited).com is selling for the bargain price of only $3,500,000.00. Payment accepted in silver dollars only.

Gene

 


October 20
Scammer:

Can you accept 3,400,000.00 USD?

Do you sell domain with a web site or just the name?

Domain without content is ok with me. Web site is not necessary.

Have you had your domain names evaluated in the past? I mean domain appraisals. Without valuation we cannot be sure in the sale price. It’s very important for me in terms of reselling too. But we must engage a valuation company with REAL manual service. So I will only accept valuations from independent sources I and my partners trust.

To avoid mistakes I asked domain experts about reputable appraisal companies.

Please check this blog with suggestions from other sellers and buyers:
(another scam site created for this deception)

If, for example, the valuation comes higher you can adjust your asking price accordingly. It will be fair. I also hope you can give me 12% – 15% discount.

After you send me the valuation via email (usually it takes 1-2 days to obtain it) we’ll continue our negotiations.

What is your preferred payment method: Escrow.com, International wire transfer, PayPal.com or something else?

Hope we can come to an agreement fast.

Looking forward to your reply.

 

 


October 21
My Reply:

Hello Bradford,

Sorry, but I’m sticking to my guns. I want $3,500,000.00, not $3,400,000.00. Just send the payment to my address in the whois record. Remember, I accept Silver Dollars only. Once I receive the payment, I’ll transfer the domain to you immediately. Please allow 3 days for me to count the coins.

Best,

Gene

 


October 22
Scammer:

No problem,

It’s a standard practice to show independent valuation to buyers/resellers. Nobody will do business without it. I’m a businessman and have no intention of changing rules which help both parties to avoid additional risks.

Of course, investors never take into account auto-generated valuations. So manual valuation is a “must” too.

I read the following information about appraisals at:
(link to same scam site)

Thank you for understanding. I’m looking forward to do business with you.

 


October 22
My Reply:

Dear Bradford,

Thank you so much for this opportunity. $3,500,000.00 will surely come in handy. I need a new car. Oh, and I think I’ll splurge and buy me a new iPod too.

I love Silver dollars, don’t you? They’re SO shiny. I just hope I’ll be able to count them all without losing count halfway through, that would be a bummer! By the way, do you sell coin-counting machines? If you do, send one along and just deduct the cost from the total.

I looked at the site you linked me to. Quite impressive! My only problem is that I can’t read. It’s an unfortunate part of my upbringing — long story. I can write with no problem, but I cannot read to save my life! I have to have everything read to my by my assistant, but she is is currently in the hospital having a hangnail removed. You know how painful those can be.

Anyway, I’m anxious to do business! My address again is in the whois info. I know $3,500,000.00 worth of silver dollars is going to be a very heavy package, but I think there’s enough room in my garage. I’ve already cleared a space and set up 12 banquet tables.

I figure I’ll have my friends come over and help me count to speed the process. I don’t mind if they pocket a few for themselves. The BEST part is, since the 12 banquet tables will already be set up, we can CELEBRATE and have a big feast after we’re done counting! I’d like to invite you to celebrate with us… just give me a call!

Thanks again,

Gene

 

 


October 22
Scammer:


As a seller you should provide me with an appraisal first. This is a reasonable practice. I’ve found not all the appraisals are accurate. So I accept real manual appraisals from trusted sources only. I don’t trust $14-$20 services. Nobody will do a research for $14. We need a real manual service. I researched several companies and here are the results:

(here he lists four legitimate appraisal services but claims they are fraudulant)

Many experienced sellers suggested us http://www.(edited).com as a trustworth manual service. They charge per name not per hour. We’ve read only positive comments about them. And I have my own positive experience with this company and their support.

Bradford

 


October 23
My Reply:

Hello again Bradford,

Thanks for getting back to me, I’ve been waiting all day. I’m very sad that after all our emails you haven’t agreed to my request for silver dollars. Let me know if you agree, then I will have the domain appraised for you. I have to cut this short because I haven’t been to the bathroom all day, waiting for you. I really have to go now.

Bye,

Gene

 


October 23
Scammer:

No deal without appraisal from a trusted source. This simple rule has saved me a lot of money and time. Feel free to contact me when you change your position and let’s do business the right way.

 


October 23
My Reply:

Hi again Bradford,

I must have typed my last message too fast for you to keep up with, because I said I would get an appraisal. I’m typing this message much slower so you don’t miss anything this time.

A friend of mine let me know that 3.5 million silver dollars would weigh over 103 tons, and recommended this method of transportation: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antonov_An-225

Another option would be for me to fly to your location and spend the silver dollars there. We could go shopping together! Wouldn’t that be fun? The first thing I’d do is buy you a conscience. Let me know what you think.

Gene

 


October 23
Scammer:

 

Show me the appraisal

 


October 23
My Reply:

Say ‘please’.

Gene

 


October 23
Scammer:

(NOTE: I think my buddy Bradford has caught on
to me. His latest email now contained only TWO words.
I think you can guess the words. It rhymes with Yuck Foo.)



October 23
My Reply:

Sorry, that’s not negotiable.

 


 

Haven’t heard back from him since. I kinda miss him.

Gene

Please take a moment to Share! Thank you, Gene

    25 Responses to “Conversation With a Scammer (domain appraisal scam)”

    Read below or add a comment...

    1. Gene,

      Thanks for this!

      I really needed a good laugh today.

      Should you find yourself with a surfeit of silver dollars I’ll be happy to take a few gross off your hands. I think my pickup truck will safely carry 750 or 1,000 lbs of them. So as to not inconvenience you too much I’ll even drive to New York state to pick them up.

      I would, as I’m not as young and healthy as you, appreciate some help in loading them into the truck. Will you supply the coin bags at no cost or will I have to reimburse you for them? should you require reimbursement for the bags the easiest and most efficient way to accomplish this would be to reduce may carry-off by a few pounds.

      I trust this meets with your acceptance and I look forward to hearing from you in the very near future.

      Sincerely,

      Elmer Hurlstone

    2. Bentley says:

      Astounding (and highly entertaining), Gene!
      I can’t believe he would be so persistent, even when it’s so clear you are playing with him.

      No one said scammers were the smartest people in the world, I guess!
      lol

      B

    3. Jason Fladlien says:

      haha I love this! It’s amazing how you can tell they don’t even bother to really read any of Gene’s replies, they just try to get him excited about money and use that to get him to spend some of his own!

    4. Leonard says:

      Hey Gene,

      Is that domain really work $3,5M or it was only a part of the joke?

      Either way, it’s an interesting point to consider IMHO..

    5. Hi Gene,

      You know I never grow tired of hearing this story. I think it is interesting that so many times like this they (the scammer, the telemarketer) stay so on script and that it takes so long to veer off. Never get tired of my study of human nature. Thanks for Sharing,

      JohnP

    6. Gene,

      Brilliant. Just brilliant. If you ever need a second income, go into comedy scriptwriting. You have a wicked turn of phrase there.

      I’ve always wondered whether there were real people behind these scams.

      Now I know. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Debbie

    7. Gerard says:

      Hi Gene!
      That’s the best news I’ve had in weeks. $3.5 Million Dollars.
      I wonder if you could help an old lady out.

      I have a coop of Racing Pigeons and I’m sending you a batch
      over to the States as I’m in the UK.
      Each Pigeon will have a receptacle on both legs next to its ring.
      The receptacles are the exact size for Silver Dollars and are
      spring-loaded to allow you to fill each up with more that 1 Silver Dollar.

      But not too many as the Pigeons need to be able to take off from your
      back yard and will have 3k miles to fly across the Atlantic to get home.

      But it’s the only way to avoid US and UK Custom charges.
      I’ll let you know when the Birds are safely home and I’ve counted the
      Silver Dollars you’ve sent me to get my poor Mother-in-law a new Granny
      Flat as her old one slid into the sea last week and she’s not talking to me
      at the moment
      And things are very fraught between my wife and I because
      of the tragedy because she keeps looking at me suspiciously as if I had something
      to do with the Granny Flat sliding down the cliff into the sea. As if I would?

      Let me know when my Birds arrive at your place and when they’re all safely
      airborne so I can get ready to start counting those Silver Dollars.

      Of course you’ll have to send me the Fee in advance so I can have the
      Silver Dollars appraised. !0% of the $3.5 Mill should cover it.

      Looking forward to the return of my Birds laden with Silver.
      Best Regards,
      Gerard

      • Gene says:

        Well, okay. But I need to hold a retainer for all the bird poop that is bound to cover my driveway.

        • Gerard says:

          But your retainer might mean the difference between my poor
          Mother in law having somewhere to live or not.
          Have a Heart, Gene. BTW all the Birds are house-trained.
          They won’t leave anything behind on you property. ๐Ÿ™‚
          You’re a great guy, Gene.
          Best Regards

    8. Gene LOL THAT WAS FUNNY!! Loved it man LOL hahahaha

    9. Will Irish says:

      Dear Gene’s Assistant,

      Firstly, I trust you recover quickly from what I’m sure is robbing you of much peace, namely your tragic hangnail episode. When you do return, can you kindly read this to Gene…

      Gene – classic! Best read of the day. Sometimes a little levity helps to reboot the day and get a fresh 2nd wind. Works better than a starbucks coffee (Not Dunkin’s, but better than Starbucks anyhow).

      Thanks for sharing mate.

      Will

    10. CR James says:

      Hey Gene!

      Wow!

      That was insaaaaanely funny. Rarely do I actually “LOL” when reading a post…

      I’m now fired up to “play with a scammer” too ….even after a motivational pep talk to my wife about time management… I don’t care, I want to “play with a scammer” …(and i think in some ways this psychologically productive…)

      My Favorite Highlights:

      “selling for the bargain price of only $3,500,000.00. Payment accepted in silver dollars only.” LOL!

      “Iโ€™m typing this message much slower so you donโ€™t miss anything this time” LOL!

      “Sorry, but Iโ€™m sticking to my guns. I want $3,500,000.00, not $3,400,000.00.” LMAO!!!

      [The entire misread that you were *yucking* with him the whole time.]

      “Say โ€˜pleaseโ€™.”

      “If you do, send one along and just deduct the cost from the total.”

      “I donโ€™t mind if they pocket a few for themselves.”

    11. Mason says:

      Hahaha! The back and forth is hilarious! Thanks for the share. Sounds like you really had a good thing going until Bradford and his investors wouldn’t cave. I’d gladly pay 3.5 mil in silver dollars! I’ll even help you count it and celebrate in the feast! ๐Ÿ™‚

    12. Mikel says:

      One of the funniest things I’ve read in a while.

      The other side of the coin (no pun intended) is that, if that guy took so long an effort to try and get Gene to sign up at the fake appraisal even though he was obviously mocking him, I’m sure there are many website owners that fall for this scam at some point in the conversation…

      Mikel

    13. Debora Humphries says:

      Oh lord, that was funny. I have received a few of those, I wish I would have thought about doing something this.

      Gene, you are absolutely comical. Thanks for the laugh and the great advice on these scammers.

    14. brett stark says:

      Good job. I took it a step further got him on skype. I’ll save the headache
      posting his info but can say they work in groups and alternate the scam.

      another blackheart that is spamming the hell out people is AceDns.
      many the boys have pulled his info and posted it on DNForum.
      just be careful people, if want something done learn to do it yourself.

    15. Santhosh says:

      Stop posting our private communication on your web site. I don’t repspond to you because i was busy arranging Silver Dollars, i failed to arrange them, how about Silver plated dollars imported from china ? Please don’t sell your domain to anyone else, we really want it and ready to pay asking price. Don’t forget appraisal!

    16. Craig says:

      Looks like this conversation happened over 2 years ago. Good thing you didn’t sell that domain, by now I think it’s value is more like $30 million.

      I would like to buy that domain from you for $30 million, it’s current value. But last week I bought a domain and spent my last $30 million of Silver Dollars. So I will have to pay you in $3 dollar bills. It’s all I’ve got at the moment.

      Don’t forget the appraisal, it’s only $4 dollars. These type of appraisals, unfortunately have gone down in value.

    17. Richard says:

      That was EPIC and so funny Gene!

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