Participation in International Conferences are ideal channels for education, technology transfer, personal information enrichment and networking . However, because of its global nature there is no international police power strong enough nor capable enough to protect individuals from conference scams due to border issues, territorial limitations and foreign relations. This is evidenced by the proliferation of internet scams all over the world. Another example is piracy which despite international effort has accelerated in recent years.
Participating in an international conference is not without risk basically on the financial side. It is the same as buying an item from an online store.
It is with this in mind that we raise the issue, Are all conferences legitimate? Goingtomeet.com has a conference database of over 50, 000 events. How do we protect ourselves from shams who postulate as conference organizers and then run away with your money. Let me suggest a few ways and you too may add your own ideas and experience to help others avoid such frauds.
- Track Record – Conferences/exhibitions with past conference reviews and testimonials complete with credible images are good candidates. Although I have to read a testimonial that has negative remarks, most often they are glowing and obviously exaggerated.
- Physical evidence – telephone numbers, fax, addresses, names of persons, and forums other than the organizer’s site would be very helpful . If there is no other way of communicating with the organizers other than via, email,start to be wary.
- Law of witness – In organizing a conference organizers need to coordinate with venue, speakers, tours and sponsors. Therefore enquire from them.
International Conferences is a way for less developed countries to approximate more developed nations in different fields of endeavour. As I moderate conferences, I come across organizers (usually in the academics) who give special consideration for participants from less developed countries or provide travel allowance to students (post graduate) which is highly commendable.
Let us scrutinize a conference as closely as possible to determine its authenticity. Attending a conference may provide us the needed exposure in our research, or additional insight for our business or …a nightmare!.
- Consumer Fraud Reporting: www.consumerfraudreporting.org/index.php
- Internet Fraud: www.fbi.gov/majcases/fraud/internetschemes.htm