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Beware of Scam Conferences
We are hearing reports of fake Ruby conferences being promoted on social media. Please be vigilent if you get contacted and asked for money.
So, what characterizes a conference as "fake"? Fake conferences often lack proper peer review, which is essential for ensuring a high-quality program. They are typically organized by for-profit companies that may falsely claim to be nonprofit. Ultimately, the organizers make huge profits, while the participants are left with wasted time and money and nothing substantial to show for it.
One misconception is that predatory conferences primarily affect early-career programmera from developing countries. However, the truth is that distinguishing between fake and legitimate conferences can be challenging for anyone. With visually appealing websites filled with misleading information, it is not always easy to differentiate between the two.
Thankfully, there are criteria that can help determine whether a conference is predatory. Before submitting your payment details, take the time to do some research and analyze whether a conference is legitimate. Here are nine clues to help you identify a fake conference:
1. The conference has an overly ambitious title. Predatory conferences often use words like "international" or "global" to attract presenters. If the conference claims international status but the organizers and attendees are mainly from one country, be cautious. Also, watch out for organizers who use the name of one country but operate from another.
2. The conference's technical program is extremely broad. If the program seems to cover every possible topic without specializing in any particular field, it is likely lacking credibility. Pay attention to conferences that advertise themselves as "interdisciplinary" as a tactic to lure in early-career programmers.
3. The language used on the conference website is unusual or contains numerous spelling and grammar mistakes. Legitimate conference websites are typically well-written, as organizing such events demands careful attention to detail. Poorly written content on a conference website suggests a lack of authenticity.
4. Renowned organizations claim to sponsor a low-profile conference. Fake conferences often falsely declare partnerships or sponsorships with big organizations. If the conference boasts impressive backers but is unheard of among your colleagues, be cautious. Predatory conferences attempt to appear valid by association with reputable organizations.
5. The contact details of the organizers are either missing or suspicious. Predatory conferences may conceal or provide fake contact information, including phone numbers or P.O. boxes. Legitimate conferences usually have clearly accessible contact details.
6. A conference with a suspiciously similar name already exists. Fake conferences often give themselves names that closely resemble established and respected conferences. Double-check the conference name to ensure there are no identical or almost identical conferences in existence.
7. The conference or its organizers have connections to known predatory conferences or journals. Research and search for links between the conference and any previously identified predatory conferences or journals.
8. The organizers charge higher-than-normal registration fees. While conference fees can vary, predatory conferences often overcharge to maximize their profits. Compare the fees charged by established conferences in your field and question exorbitant fees for unknown conferences.
9. The conference is held unusually frequently. If the same conference occurs multiple times in different cities or if an organizer holds multiple conferences simultaneously, there is cause for caution. Predatory conferences often alternate between countries to boost their profits.
How to report Scam Conferences
How to Report and Respond to Suspicious Text Messages
If you come across a suspicious text message that you believe is a scam, there are steps you can take to address the issue. Many phone providers offer a service that allows customers to report these types of messages for free by forwarding them to 7726. When you forward a text to this number, your provider can launch an investigation to determine the origin of the text and potentially block or ban the sender if it is found to be malicious.
Here's how you can forward a text message on iPhone or iPad:
1. Take note of the sender's number.
2. Press and hold on the message bubble.
3. Tap "More."
4. Select the message or messages you want to forward.
5. Tap the arrow on the bottom right of the screen.
6. Enter 7726 as the recipient and send the message.
For Android devices, follow these steps to forward a text message:
1. Take note of the sender's number.
2. Enter the conversation and press and hold on the message bubble.
3. Tap the three vertical dots on the top right of the screen.
4. Select "Forward."
5. Enter 7726 as the recipient and send the message.
If the number 7726 doesn't work, you always have the option to reach out to your phone provider for instructions on how to report the text message.
Another method of reporting a scam text is by capturing a screenshot or screen recording and sending it to firstname.lastname@example.org (official Website). This allows the authorities to gather evidence for investigation. You can also go here to see if the number is a scam number.
It's important to report suspicious text messages because frequently the goal of these scams is to trick you into clicking a link. This link can lead you to a website where criminals attempt to install viruses on your computer or steal your personal information and passwords, a tactic known as "phishing."
Reporting these messages is not only free but also beneficial for various reasons. By reporting them, you can:
- Reduce the amount of scam texts you receive.
- Increase your level of protection against scammers.
- Help protect others from falling victim to cybercrime online.
Taking a minute of your time to report suspicious texts can make a significant difference in preventing and combating scams. Stay vigilant and play your part in maintaining a safer online environment for everyone.