Scam invitations to non-existent conferences
#46847 by Guenther Fri Feb 18, 2011 4:12 am
From Vanina Frank Fri Feb 18 03:26:18 2011
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Date: Thu, 17 Feb 2011 19:26:18 -0800 (PST)
From: Vanina Frank <[email protected]>
Subject: SPECIAL INVITATION
To: [email protected]
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Hi Friend ,
My name is Vanina Frank female, working with (WORLD YOUTH ORGANIZATION FOR HUMAN WELFARE) California, U.S.A. We are organizing a global International combined conferences on HIV/AIDS Prevention and Child Abuse/Labor taking place in California in the United States and later in Africa (Senegal), 2011. In our request to invite people from various countries around the world, I went in search of e-mails on the web site as a means of contacting interested delegats and Organizations. As a result, I picked your e-mail from website. If you are interested to participate and want to represent your country, you may contact the Secretariat of the Organizing Committee for details and information. You may inform them that you were invited to participate by a friend of yours (Vanina Frank), who is a member of the American Youths for Peace and a staff of (WORLD YOUTH ORGANIZATION FOR HUMAN WELFARE). I believe that we may have the opportunity to meet if you may be willing to participate in this most esteemed event. You can also inform Youths Organizations & NGOs in your country about these International Conferences. The benevolent donors of the Organizing Committee will provide round trip air tickets, accommodation and feeding for the period of participants stay in the U.S, to all registered participants. If you are a holder of a passport that may require a visa to enter the United States of America, you may inform the Conference Secretariat at the time of registration, as the Organizing Committee is responsible for all visa arrangements and travel assistances.Below is the contact address of the Conference Secretariat:
Email:[email protected]
World Youth Organization For Human Welfare Secretariat,
21St Avenue, Stockton 11958
California,
United States,
FAX+1801421-367
Sincerely,
Vanina Frank.
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#52798 by Rodolfo Landa Sat May 07, 2011 6:40 pm
As a professional conference interpreter, I have had contact with conference organizers and participants on many occasions and therefore can identify parts of a conference scam e-mail that make me suspicious that this is a scam and not a real conference invitation.
Let's start with an analysis of this letter:
The following are all points for consideration, which may or may not appear in a conference scam letter:
1)The recipient's address does not appear, which means that at best this would be a form letter.
2)The sender claims to be from an international organization, but begins the letter with “Hi Friend” and describes herself as “I am Vanina Frank, female”. This is not a very professional style of writing. A real conference organizer would more probably address the recipient by name and introduce himself or herself in a more formal and official way.
3)Does the organization that the sender claims to represent even exist? (Note: it may or may not, but an organization that can't be found on the Internet, or that is found in fraud warnings, is likely to be a fraud.) If the sender does reference an organization's website, visit it and see whether the data mentioned there matches up with the content of the e-mail. Scammers sometimes make reference to real websites to which they have no real connection as a way of making themselves seem more legitimate. If the conference and the sender's name don't appear anywhere on the respective website, it is more likely to be a scam. However, if the conference and the sender's name appear on the website, that doesn't necessarily mean it's legitimate either: scammers sometimes go to great lengths to impersonate real people in every detail and create all sorts of material to back up their claim to legitimacy. Look for any inconsistencies between the e-mail and the website, or on the website itself (like claiming to be in different locations on different pages, content that may be copied from real sites, and anything that doesn't make sense).
4)The use of parentheses around the organization name also makes it likely that the sender was using a template or script for the message and simply inserted a name for an organization in here.
5)Does the subject matter of the conference match up with your own professional field? If not, it's more likely to be a scam. If it does, it may mean that the scammer did some additional research to find “logical” victims. Scientific organizations, banks, and professionals of all sorts have been targeted for fraud by scammers.
6)In this message, the sender mentions two different locations for a conference, on different continents. In practice, organizers usually would treat this as two different conferences with two different venues. The logistics of moving around all the people involved in a conference from one place to another (let alone from one continent to another) are rather complicated and expensive. To say it plainly, this is not usually done and therefore is suspicious.
7)There is no mention of exactly when and where the conference is supposed to take place. These details are usually arranged well in advance in order to ensure a suitable setting for the conference and lodging for the participants, and in order to allow participants to make their arrangements well beforehand. Here, not even the exact cities are mentioned.
8)Basic spelling and grammar mistakes, such as “travel assistances” and “enquirie”, make it more likely that a letter is a scam. Yes, people sometimes do make careless mistakes in their correspondence, but the more professional they are, the less likely this is to happen. By the same logic, the more that this occurs in a message, the less likely the author is to be a genuine professional.
9)In this specific case, both the address and the phone number are fake. There is a street name but no house number, the city, state, and zip code are not written in a form anybody from the United States would use (the standard form is Town, State or two-letter state abbreviation and then postal code, like in Milwaukee, WI 53202), and the postal code does not correspond to the location. In addition, the phone number is missing a digit (United States phone numbers always have a 3-digit area code and a 7-digit main number). There are ways to check all of these details over the Internet.
#52799 by Rodolfo Landa Sat May 07, 2011 6:43 pm
WHAT YOU CAN DO TO AVOID GETTING SCAMMED
1)Be skeptical. The old proverb “If it looks too good to be true, it probably is” should be kept in mind.
2)Research the source and sender of any conference invitation that you have received, and any organizations mentioned in it. If you find them in fraud warnings, consider yourself warned.
3)Think a second: does it even make sense that you would be receiving this specific invitation?
4)Show the message to a few professional colleagues of yours who you know well, and ask them whether they have received similar messages and whether they think it is genuine.
5)Make no commitments to attend or participate in any event that you are not certain is genuine.
6)Do not give personal or financial information of yours to anyone who you suspect might be a scammer. You never know how they might use it.
7)If a scammer knows any of your real-life details (name, address, phone number, where you work, etc.) drop all contact with him or her.
8 ) If you are certain that a message is a scam, share it with your colleagues so that none of them get scammed.
9)Do not tell any scammers that you have figured out their message is fraudulent, and most of all, don't tell them how you figured it out. That would just make them work at being more convincing for the next victim

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