Submitted by Adam Johnson / Harvey Mudd College on Tue, 02/07/2012 - 22:32

File this one under "if it's too good to be true, its probably too good to be true."

I got a conference invitation to present my work at the 3rd "world congress of Catalytic Asymmetric Synthesis" in Beijing this spring. I was intrigued and excited to present, but I have to admit, even from the first email, red flags were going up.  The very first email I got from them said something like they hadn't heard from me after their initial email a few days ago. I put together an abstract and got on the program and was happily planning my trip to China.

They kept sending me emails about registering. Every few days. And since I can't get a visa until the end of the month, they are only good for 3 months, I kept telling them that I couldn't register yet.  I did go to the registration page, an unsecured webform. There's a big red flag.  I finally got so concerned about it that I sent an email to one of the other speakers whom I know. He said that he had not registered.  So I began emailing other people from the program and googling "conference scam" and "BIT Life sciences scam" and it is pretty clearly an ELABORATE phishing scheme where they try to get your cc#, passport # and all sorts of other things.

Looking more clearly at the conference program, all the "attendees" look legit at first glance, but if you go to their websites, most of them are not working in the correct field; some are solid state physicists.


Be warned! This looks legit, but it is a scam.