Important notice on fraudulent conferences

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CRIN has recently been alerted several times about fraudulent conferences or events. Several CRIN members have received invitations to conferences in the US or in the UK, where they were told their flights and accommodation expenses were covered, but had to pay booking fees first. These types of scam emails are sent more and more often, and CRIN is asking NGOs to be vigilant when transferring money for international conferences.

Below are some of the features to be wary of when booking for a conference. These are from TakingITGlobal, who have received similar complaints from organisations:

  • Suspicious email addresses. If you do not recognise the organisation in the email address domain name, then be very careful. For example, 'mail.ru' or 'ny.com'. Reputable organisations have recognisable email addresses, like '@edc.org', or 'un.org', 'usaid.org'.
  • Telephone/fax number. If the number is a fax number only, despite claiming to also be a telephone line, and if nobody answers the phone, then be very suspicious.
  • No physical address. Most attempts include only email and a Tel/Fax number, but no street address. Sometimes a physical address and venue is found to be fictitious, or a half-truth.
  • Request for your passport details. Be very suspicious if an organisation you have never heard of, and cannot independently verify, asks for your passport number.
  • Conference theme. Many conferences are using similar language to reputable organisations. Often the language is directly stolen from a reputable organisation's website, as recent cases have shown. Youth and Alcohol conferences are very common fronts for criminals. Or Racism and Child Abuse.
  • Free accomodation/air fares. The offer is often too good to be true. For example, an offer of free accommodation and air fares, but with vague details.
  • Religious overtones. The names of the ostensible host is often a wholesome traditional American name with Christian overtones, for instance Rev. Mary Brownie, and Transworld Youth. Names like this are designed to persuade you of the honesty of the perpetrator, and resemble existing organisations.
  • Two venues. Fraudulent conferences are often supposed to take place in two parts in two different countries.
  • Venue not booked. The event will be advertised as taking place in a venue that exists but if you contact them, they have never heard about the event.

We have recently been through our events calendar to ensure that no such conferences are advertised on our website. If you receive invitations that seem suspicious, please forward the information to us so we can warn others about it. Please do also forward this information to friends and colleagues who may not use the CRIN website.

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Please note that these reports are hosted by CRIN as a resource for Child Rights campaigners, researchers and other interested parties. Unless otherwise stated, they are not the work of CRIN and their inclusion in our database does not necessarily signify endorsement or agreement with their content by CRIN.