Are Fake Academic Conferences the New Nigerian Prince Scam?

Tired of snaring your Grandma with sob stories about deposed princes and their locked bank accounts, email scammers are branching out. Their new target: Academia. Researchers get invitations to a hot, new scientific conference and are asked to send their personal information in order to register. But when The Scientist checked up on the conferences, the location hadn't been booked, the named speakers didn't know anything about it and the organizer asking for info fell strangely silent. (Full story is free, but you may need to log in.)

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  1. I even get invitations to speak at conferences (and I am low on the foodchain), but perhaps more subtly I get many emails to submit invited review articles to this or that journal. Some of these have crossed the boundary into pseudo-reality – the journal actually exists in cyberspace, though I’m not quite sure what the hundreds of dollars in “page charges” are used for…

  2. That explains a lot. I have an academic email address, and I’ve been getting invitations for conferences to things I have nothing to do with. Coupled with the fact that I don’t go to conferences to begin with (I’m a worker bee, not a prof), I’ve been very confused by this. Thanks, BoingBoing, for clearing this up!

  3. There are levels of fake conference. There is one I get invited to in Hawaii every year, that is a ‘real’ conference in that it is not a phishing scam, but it is completely unaffiliated with any accredited organization, and is intended only to make money for the organizers in return for a line on one’s CV.

  4. This isn’t that uncommon; academics seem at least as likely as plebians to fall for this. Some journals publishers have a reputation as indiscriminate spammers in soliciting submissions and editorial board members. See also: Make tenure fast!

  5. Computer Science issues fake journals are easy to spot on …. the spam with CFPs and beg for editorial members. Hence, academics should not join such cheap editorials.
    Unverified journals and newly born conferences from African countries regions may be doubtful and therefore demand some cautious eye.

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