Sunday, November 29, 2009

Conference fraud actually happens

Some time ago, I wrote about the possibility of fraud in academic publishing. We all get spam promoting new academic conferences, but this spam seems to enjoy a presumption of legitimacy. As I argued, this presumption could be exploited.

It appears I was right to be wary. The Scientist has uncovered two recent cases of fraudulent conferences.

The first case unfolded largely as I thought: a general invitation went out for the "1st International Cardiology Conference" in Shanghai; invitees were directed to a legit-looking web page (since removed), and registration fees were charged. Not only was the conference bogus, but registrants' credit card numbers were used for further fraudulent charges, totaling $2000 in one case.

The second case is more reminiscent of the traditional Nigerian scam: a prominent researcher was invited to appear at the "Seventh Annual International Global combine Conference on Global Economy and Human Welfare", with free airfare and accommodation; the invitee had only to provide certain personal information. The recipient of this message was wary enough to check with the supposed sponsoring organizations and venue, none of whom had ever heard of the conference.

I guess I'll be sticking with the usual IEEE conferences for the time being.

[via BoingBoing; h/t @adhamilton.]

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