It’s summer vacation season, and worth a reminder about some common business IP scams to watch out for.  Staff covering for vacations and unfamiliar with these may be more vulnerable to them.  While there are lots of scams out there, these three are the ones I get asked about most by clients.

The trademark registration scam.  Scammers monitor the trademark application process, and send an invoice to the trademark applicant that looks like it is part of the trademark application process.  If you read it very carefully it says it isn’t an invoice, and it is a pitch for a service, but its easy to mistake it for a legitimate invoice and pay it.  Most of these originate offshore, so good luck trying to get your money back.

The directory scam.  You get an invoice for the registration of your business in an important sounding directory.  Again, if you read it carefully it says it isn’t an invoice.  If you pay it, you may actually get listed in the directory – but the directory is useless.  And again, most of these originate offshore, so good luck trying to get your money back.

The domain name scam.  You get an email from an offshore domain name registrar saying that someone else has asked them to register your name as a domain name.  Their goal is to get you to pay them to register your name instead.  Of course it’s all a ruse.  If you do think it might be a good idea to get that domain registration for yourself, go through your normal registrar, not this one.