Friday, November 20, 2009

What can one do about the fake conference?

Let me start with an apology. In my previous post on a scamference, I was being needlessly offensive towards the victims of that hoax. What I said about the participants was in poor taste. I was wrong, and I apologize.

* * *

A quick update about the conference venue: "Prof. J. Thorpe" (who, as we now know, does not exist at Duke University) has responded to a query from IISc officials (about booking the J.N. Tata Auditorium) stating that the conference may move to Madrid, Spain!

* * *

Let me go out on a limb here. Given:

  • the extremely low conference registration fee -- just $45 which is far too low to run a professional conference),

  • the shadiness involved in the unauthorized use of ACM, IISc, (and possibly every "real" person on the technical committee, as well as the sponsors), and

  • that no "real person" has emerged to take the responsibility for the conference,

we really ought to consider the possibility that the "organizers" never intended to, you know, run this conference.

In other words, we are not talking here about a low-quality conference with a near 0% rejection rate. We are talking about the possibility that there's NO conference at all!

* * *

In the comments thread, the discussion has taken a constructive turn; now that so many people have been cheated, what can they do now to punish the guilty?

Someone suggested that the cybercrime branch of Bangalore police must get involved. I'm not sure. The entire operation seems to be run out of the US.

Given that a paper trail exists -- bank accounts, money transfers, etc -- it should be possible to establish the identity of folks behind this scam, and go after them.

A loss of $45 is too small for an individual to take the trouble to file a case. Thus, any action has to be by the collective of victims.

Let me throw out two possibilities:

  1. First, the participants need to organize -- which requires them to know who the other participants are -- the conference website does not have a list of participants (unsurprising). The way to solve this problem would be to form an (open) online group -- Google, Yahoo, Ning, or Facebook. I'm sure the group will have quite a few public-spirited folks who can help guide group's actions.

    [I'll be happy to link to the group in an update to this post, as well as the previous post.]

  2. We can be reasonably certain that at least some of the so-called "sponsors" of the conference have been scammed. Perhaps the participants can write to these companies -- Google, Yahoo, Intel, HP, Philips, Alcatel, etc; I'm sure they all have friends, former students, and family members who work in one or more of these companies. They should alert them about the possible illegal use of their companies' logos on the conference website.

I would think the second option is probably more effective. If the companies didn't agree to be the sponsors (likely), why are their logos being flashed (and why were they mentioned as "supporters" in the conference brochure)? On the other hand, if the companies did pay to become sponsors, I think they have an even stronger case to go after the scamsters because of all the misrepresentations they have made. Either way, alerting the companies and goading them into action would be quite effective.

Any other suggestion?


  1. Anonymous said...

    Since at least one of the victim, Arpan from the other thread, is from North Carolina and J. Thorpe is listed as from Duke U (also from North Carolina) the best option is to approach the Attorney General of North Carolina as well as some TV stations of North Carolina. They would get to the bottom of this scam very very quickly.

  2. Anonymous said...

    The link for the North Carolina Attorney General's office is .

    The site to file a complaint is

    The radio and TV stations of the area where both Arpan (NC State U) as well as Duke University is listed

  3. Subrahmanya said...

    John W. Mohr
    Department of Sociology
    2834 Ellison Hall
    University of California
    Santa Barbara, CA 93106-9430
    office: 805-893-2013
    fax: 805-893-3324
    web page:

    claims to have presented a paper in ICFCA 2008

    Are the events connected?


  4. Anonymous said...

    That ICFCA where J W Mohr presented paper is a different one. It seems that though not main stream, at least those conferences are real. :-) 2010 ICFCA (formal concepts) is due to be held in Morocco. (A little google will reveal that).

  5. Anonymous said...

    $45 as a conference fee is another sign of a fake conference. Conference fee usually runs into few hundreds of dollars for professionals.

  6. Jit Ray chowdhury said...

    Anybody needing help or wanting to help stopping such crime contact me personally on my mail.. It not safe to disclose everything here.

  7. arpan.ncstate said...

    I have informed Duke's news office about the whole deal, and I'm to hear from them. Complaining to the DoJ will be tricky because they clearly ask for a North Carolina location of the business we are complaining against. All the real addresses that ICFCA has produced are in India.

  8. Jit Ray chowdhury said...

    This is an IPC Case u/s 419/420 IPC 66/66B/66D IT Act and Copy Right Act

  9. Jit Ray chowdhury said...

    Arpan atleast give the DoJ address as Duke University and Contact name J Thrope... Atleast they can assure that its fake. And we might be able to use that report over here

  10. Jit Ray chowdhury said...

    Anybody have any Idea or suggestions about this

    If for any reasons, you want to ask for reimbursement of the payment, please let us know. We will immediately reimburse the amount to your mentioned account. Please send us a formal request bearing the subject line "Request to Withdraw Paper"

  11. Anonymous said...

    @Jit, I am interested in knowing if you got the reimbursement!

  12. Jit Ray chowdhury said...

    Yes yeterday .. I got a mail that they reimbursed.. and they did. So now I have no charges against ICFCA thought I am not very happy about the whole thing.. did anyone else try for the reimbursement

  13. Anonymous said...

    Dear Jit Ray Chowdhary,

    Can U post the mail that you have written to the ICFCA.


  14. Jit Ray chowdhury said...

    I have posted the mail below, please note giving out bank account no. is not safe for all banks. My bank sms me for authorization of every trasaction. Hope the mail is helpfull to all

    Dear Sir,

    Thank you for this offer, we would have really like to get our papers published by ICFCA, but as there is going to be no Conference, e-receipt is without contact details and ACM not Associated and IJFCA not yet recognized by anyone and no details available yet, None of our college is supporting us with financial support, and also one of co-authors already got his application for higher studies rejected as soon it was declared that ICFCA is not associated with ACM. So we have got no other choice but to withdraw our paper. Kindly let us know if we need to do anything more to complete this process. Also let us know that by when am I going to get the reimbursement.

    Name: Jit Ray Chowdhury
    Account Number 000000XXX
    Center: Kolkata
    IFSC Code:

    Manuscript Title: Face Detection and Recognition
    Paper ID: RES-723