DeSmog

Warning: online scammer hypes fake global warming conference

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Thanks to the sharp eye of Inel who has uncovered a pretty sophisticated online scam regarding a conference in London called the 3rd Global Warming and Climate Change International Conference & Exposition (WGGWCC 08).

According the Inel, the event advertisement looked bogus to him for many reasons:

  • The street address given for the organisers is, upon checking a map of the area, apparently a London cemetery — St. Marylebone Crematorium, to be precise (indicating a rather dark sense of humour!)
  • The format of the London postcode given is invalid.
  • The London phone number supplied is not authentic: it begins with +44 70 … This is not a true London area code (which start +44 20 …). It is, in fact, a “follow me” number that is often used by scammers to complicate matters.
  • The true Hyde Park Hotel in London has real phone and fax numbers with proper London area codes. I contacted the Manager last week and was told he could guarantee that there is no WGGWCC conference taking place in his hotel on 26-30 September 2008.
  • The fake Hyde Park Hotel website provided in a link by WGGWCC comments directs you to a site designed to take your money as you provide details for a pseudo-room booking. You will not get accommodation in the real hotel, and there is no conference to attend!
  • WGGWCC? Never heard of it. Perhaps an org title with Global Warming and Climate Change together indicate a degree of redundancy that made me smell a small rat?
  • The third international conference provides no information on previous events, and lacks named speakers and sponsors, despite calling for papers and offering travel and visa assistance to foreign attendees.
  • A quick glance at the source code shows the amateur website is created using Yahoo! SiteBuilder with Yahoo! Webhosting. No reputable organisation would use those tools.

The original message appeared in the comment section on Inel’s blog. So please be aware, this scam might extend to email as well.

Good eye!

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