A new trademark scam is exploding across inboxes, preying on busy entrepreneurs and small business owners. Behind urgent pleas and legal threats lies Trademark Dynamite – the latest trick by fraudsters to pocket registration fees for services never rendered.
This article reveals how scammers are exploiting trademarks to dupe victims, red flags that set off the scam, essential steps if you get a suspicious letter, and most importantly, how to guard your business so you don’t become the next target.
Investigation of the Trademark Dynamite Scam
Trademark Dynamite first emerged in December 2023, though it likely shares ties with past schemers like Trademark Swift and Trademark Urban. The formula follows a tested blueprint to convince recipients their trademark rights are at risk.
Hook: Dire Warnings in “Legal” Emails
Everything starts with an out-of-the-blue email sent to business owners, packed with legal terminology and threats. The messages claim that the recipient’s business name faces imminent trademark disputes that require urgent action.
These alarming emails come from domains like @trademarkdynamite.com and are signed by someone posing as an intellectual property lawyer or paralegal to appear credible.
Line: False Sense of Urgency and Upsells
The scam then reels victims in further by manufacturing unrealistic deadlines and grade consequences if recipients don’t register trademarks through Trademark Dynamite right away.
This is accompanied by upselling a spectrum of unnecessary services like monitoring that inflate costs. Scammers bank on anxious business owners agreeing to anything in desperation.
Sinker: Disappearing Act After Taking Money
In the final stage, victims pay expensive registration and monitoring fees upfront, expecting legal protection. But services are never rendered, and Trademark Dynamite vanishes after pocketing sums averaging $800 to $1,500 per person.
By the time duped recipients realize nothing was filed with USPTO, deadlines have passed. Meanwhile, scammers laugh all the way to the bank by starting the process with new victims.
What to Do If You Get a Suspicious Letter
If a surprising email lands in your inbox making trademark threats, stay calm and take these steps:
- Ignore it completely or mark it as spam. Do not reply or call phone numbers listed.
- Search online for recent reports about the company name, especially complaints.
- Consult an independent intellectual property lawyer if you have genuine legal concerns.
- Report the scam attempt and sender details to USPTO and the FTC to protect others.
Critical Red Flags: How to Spot Trademark Dynamite
Trademark scammers exploit lack of public knowledge about trademarks. By acting like legal authorities, they hope to intimidate recipients.
Look out for these telltale signs that expose fraudulent tactics:
1. Strange Timing and Details
If an unknown “law firm” suddenly contacts you about impending trademark troubles, be suspicious. Scammers fabricate legal emergencies to engineer false urgency.
2. Recently Created Website and Domain
Deceptive companies use slick websites to overcompensate for their short lifespan. Trademark Dynamite’s domain was registered in December 2023, though it claims long experience.
3. Poses As Law Firm But Lacks Attorney Detail
Registering trademarks requires attorney oversight. Carefully examine credentials of all lawyers listed and verify their state bar licenses are active.
4. Mimics Logos and Branding
Fraudsters regularly steal logos and incorporate prestigious brand names to pose as legitimate. However, details won’t align on deeper inspection.
5. No Legal Address, Office, or Paper Trail
Check whether a company has a real, staffed office at their advertised address. Virtual scams stay mobile using mail drops while avoiding public confrontation.
6. Requests Fees Upfront
Lawyers customarily collect payment only after finishing services, while scams insist on upfront checks and wire transfers after initial stickers shock estimates.
How to Keep Your Business Safe From Future Scams
Once bitten by trademark scammers, smart business owners take proactive measures to prevent encore performances, including:
1. Register Legitimately
Work directly with verified attorneys and law firms with long histories to register intellectual property. Never trust fly-by-night outfits.
2. Educate Yourself and Employees
Learn trademark basics from USPTO guides to become a smarter consumer. Establish protocol for staff to flag and redirect suspicious communication early.
3. Actively Monitor Your Assets
Enroll in USPTO notification services tied directly to your business name and trademarks via their official .GOV website.
4. Limit Public Listings
Minimize unsolicited targeting by keeping online profiles strictly professional. Never post private addresses, phone numbers or emails publicly.
By recognizing deceitful tactics used in the Trademark Dynamite scheme early, you can confidently delete suspicious emails and calls instead of being reeled into the scam. Don’t let shady operators profit off your hard-earned reputation – be vigilant!