The new Nigerian email scam — fake conferences!

Fascinating post in The Scientist.

An email inviting recipients to a conference on human welfare and the global economy, said to be taking place in January and February of next year and featuring talks by some of the top scientists in the field, is making the rounds.

Last week, I received an email from someone going by the name of Alyssa Logan, who claimed to be “Youth Leader” at a group called the Action World International Organization (AWIO) and a member of the International Committee of the Red Cross. In the message, Logan invited me to the “Seventh Annual International Global combine Conference on Global Economy and Human Welfare” that AWIO was hosting. The conference would take place over the course of ten days at two separate sites, the first in New York City and the second in Dakar, Senegal in Africa.

All I had to do was get in contact with the conference secretariat, one Grace Nathan, and I could be on my way to the meetings. And — get this — I would even get my airfare and accommodation paid for!

There’s only one problem. When I contacted the AXA Equitable Auditorium, the 400-seat venue where the New York City portion of the conference was to be held from January 25th to the 29th of next year, they had never heard of AWIO, or the conference they were supposedly planning. “No such event is scheduled for that location,” said Chris Winans, senior vice president of external affairs for the AXA/Equitable Production Group.

Further confirmation that the conference was a sham came from the International Committee for the Red Cross, which told me that they had no record of an Alyssa Logan belonging to their organization…

Thanks to Laura James for the link.