PDFs of WGGWCC scam comment and false Registration Form

August 27, 2008 at 3:26 pm | Posted in Britain, Climate change, Conferences, Environment, Global warming, London, Phishing, Scams | 3 Comments
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The blog comment I received looked like this PDF:

3rd International Global Warming and Climate Change Conference & Industry Exposition WGGWCC 08 comment received by inel 13 August 2008

Take a look at the volume of text in the comment.  It is extensive, detailed copy for a first advertisement, covers all key words and a wide range of relevant climate change topics (great for search engines) and, using 11 point type with narrow margins, it completely fills two pages.  Yes, I do get loads of spam (most of it caught by Akismet ~ thank you!), and I do get lengthy comments, but this one looked odd.

Here’s why I smelled a rat:

Although I only started reading about climate change two years ago, I have attended seminars and conferences organised by the energy industry in the UK and am a member of several British institutes that should have this event on their radar, if it were truly about to happen in London and authentic.  In other words, I am a complete novice, but I am reasonably aware of interesting topics that float past my eyeballs 😉  Nevertheless, I had not heard a peep nor a whisper about this organisation before.

The ad was appealing to scientists, businessmen, and policymakers alike, hoping to attract:

“delegates from around the world, representing academic institutions, the corporate sector, non-governmental organizations, and national, state and local governments. Private and Public participation is highly encouraged.”

The size of the venue according to the ad is not insignificant (although the wording suggests it is fake, especially as this is marketed as the 3rd such event though there’s no record of any previous conferences):

“We expect to attract 10,000 concerned citizens and speakers for this unprecedented and historic event. Don’t miss the opportunity to be there!”

This came after this paragraph (which spells biofuel oddly as Bio-fuel):

“Along with conference lectures and workshops, the Climate Change Industry Exposition at the Hyde Park Hotel will include over 100 booths at which representatives from the transportation, energy, petroleum and Bio-fuel industries will present their products and programs to address global climate change. Other corporations, environmental organizations and educational institutions will present information about their products, projects and training opportunities.”

The conference title seemed an overkill with both ‘global warming’ and ‘climate change’ men.  The first thing I tried to do was check out the organisation, to satisfy my curiosity, cure my ignorance, and confirm the rat!  There is no link to WGGWCC website in the comment text, nor did Mrs. Osman enter one when she wrote.  So I googled the WGGWCC website, looked at the source code and can see it is designed by an amateur using Yahoo! SiteBuilder.

The scariest thing is the amount of personal information (including passport number and travel details) they attempt to collect in the Registration Form:

3rd International Global Warming and Climate Change Conference & Industry Exposition WGGWCC 08 Registration Form copied by inel 13 August 2008

I am not going to post a link to the phishing website for hotel bookings.  (It’s another amateur website … to catch your cash.)

There are so many tiny peculiarities about the scam, I’ll just list a few that people from outside London may not know:

The use of ‘Mrs. Osman’ in a blog comment sounds rather British.  Then, she uses a yahoo email address, not the address of the organisation she pretends to represent.  Also, ‘her’ comment uses American spelling for organization throughout.  The conference is said to be in London, and any local organisers/admin staff should know how to spell organisation the British way 😉

The real Hyde Park Hotel:

Address  23-25 Leinster Square, Westminster (nr. Bayswater), London, W2 4NE (map)

Tel +44 207 243 5000

Fax +44 207 727 0789

Phone and fax numbers for London begin +44 20 … but the ones in the spam comment begin +44 70 … (‘follow me’ number) and +44 08 … (??)

I contacted the Hotel Manager directly and asked about the conference.  (Knowing it is walking distance from Paddington, any event would be dead easy for me to attend any day, without even booking a hotel room, but I couldn’t believe an exposition with 100 booths would fit in that newly refurbished hotel.)  I was assured there is no conference taking place at the real hotel.

In any case, if you were invited to a 5-day academic/industry/policy conference running from Friday through Tuesday, wouldn’t you think it sounded like a weekend jolly/boondoggle …?!

The funniest thing about this whole episode is the organisers choice of a crematorium for their head office! (map)

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3 Comments »

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  1. I too received a invitation letter for the meeting that would be hedl in 23-27 January 2009. I almost send the money for hotel reservation but I check the internet to confirmed and I came across your article.

    many thanks.

  2. Hello Dorji,
    Thank you for writing to tell me that this information has been helpful to you.
    Happy New Year!

  3. Are there any possibility to give this case to Scottland yard?

    [response: The Metropolitan Police in London were notified about these recurring conferences several months ago.
    ~inel]


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