Beware sham climate change conference in phishing comments from WGGWCC 08!August 23, 2008 at 10:21 am | Posted in Climate change, Environment, Global warming | 43 Comments
Tags: Climate change, Conferences, Global warming, Internet fraud, London, Phishing, Scam, SPAM, WGGWCC
Last week a lengthy comment arrived for moderation, I marked it as spam, but believe it is a sophisticated scam—an attempt at phishing. The comment from Mrs. Osman began:
WGGWCC08 Announces the 3rd Global Warming and Climate Change International Conference & Exposition. (WGGWCC 08 )
On the behalf of the Organizing and Scientific Committees, the Working Group on Global Warming and Climate Change (WGGWCC) announces that the 3rd International Global Warming and Climate Change Conference & Industry Exposition (WGGWCC 08 ) will be held at the Hyde Park Hotel, London on September 26-30, 2008. We also would like to extend a special invitation to you and all your colleagues to participate in WGGWCC 08 events.
The event advertisement looked bogus to me 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.
All in all, a bad deal if you register for a non-existent conference and pay someone other than the real hotel manager for a non-existent room.
Bottom line: Please do not click on any links provided by WGGWCC.
For examples of the particular comment I’m alerting you to, please see Newsweek and Brave New Climate.[^ Barry Brook has removed the comment on his blog, but Newsweek are ignoring this issue, oh well.] [^Hooray! Newsweek have listened ;-) ]
This scam appeared online in a modified form a couple of months ago. A quick search shows a previous incarnation of 3rd International Global Warming and Climate Change Conference and Industry Exposition (WGGWCC 08 ) was advertised for 25-29 July 2008 in London by Bioversity.
My guess is that we shall see this four-day climate change event popping up and disappearing again until the perpetrators find something more profitable :-|