Conference scam targets climate scientists

It is far from the first time but a current conference invitation appears to be one of the best yet efforts of the scammer community when targeting environmental folks. An email circulating this week with the subject line Call For Papers/CCWG 2013 is a scam. The invitation is to submit papers for a Climate Change Working Group Conference 13 (CCWG Conference 13), 20th – 24th May 2013 at Hilton Hotels and Resorts London, United Kingdom.

Some may recall seeing very similar conference announcements in past years. That is one of the things that gives this scam extra credibility – it sounds like one in a series of technical conferences on climate change. The theme of this year’s scam event, announced as “Agriculture, Food Security and Climate Change” also sounds credible. However, some aspects of the letter set GallonDaily’s scam alert bells ringing:

  • the letter claims that the organizers will cover air ticket, visa fees and per diem to be covered for all qualified delegates. They claim over 900 delegates have attended previous conferences. No organization covers air fares for 900 delegates.
  • papers have to be submitted by 6th May 2013 with a response on whether they are accepted by 13th May. The conference is announced for 20th May. No reputable scientific organization works on such a tight timeline.
  • you have to register for the conference before submitting a paper, something that few reputable organizations require.
  • the Climate Change Working Group does not exist, at least not as an international organization.
  • the organizer of the conference claims to operate out of a location shown by Google Earth to be a retailer storefront in a suburb of London, hardly the kind of place from which a major international conference is organized. In addition, the email contact is a Gmail address, not a business, university or government email address. 
  • the hotel address is so incomplete as to make it impossible to determine where the event is being held.
  • the list of agenda topics has little or nothing to do with agriculture or food security.
  • other email scam investigators have contacted the name mentioned on this letter and have verified that the email is a scam.

Those investigators have told  GallonDaily that if a person tries to register for the event they will be asked to send a hotel deposit and/or a security deposit (‘to ensure that the registrant attends’) by Western Union money transfer and that these amounts will be refunded subsequently, which of course will never happen.

Note also that this is not the only environmental conference scam in circulation. You have been warned!

You can see the conference invitation at http://ccwgroup.blogspot.ca/2013/02/conference.html The link appears to be harmless, as long as you do not register for the conference, but GallonDaily makes no guarantees.

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