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.
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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!
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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!
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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:
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.]
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?