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March 12, 2024

Avoid scam invitations from predatory conferences and journals

If you are a researcher or academic, you may have noticed an increase in pesky emails and phone calls trying to lure you into submitting a paper to a shady journal or attending sketchy conferences. You know what we’re talking about – the ones that seem too good to be true? Well, turns out, they usually are!

What’s happened? 

Australian universities and research institutions are currently facing a new spike in personalised phishing attacks and general spam. These deceptive tactics masquerade as communication from prestigious figures like journalists from reputable news outlets. They’re cunningly crafted with tailored messages, often tying into current geopolitical events, aiming to instil urgency and relevance.

Adding to the mix, researchers and academics are bombarded with spam emails and calls, enticing them to submit papers to dubious journals or attend conferences organised by unknown entities. Usually, these unsolicited messages are nothing but spam and should be swiftly deleted.

How do these scams work? 

Via email

If in doubt, spam email can be deleted or marked as junk. These types often want you to sign up by clicking on a link. Delete spam emails. Avoid opening these emails and clicking on the links within them. Don’t buy anything from a spammer.

Did you know you can block senders of spam? Just right-click on the email, hover on the word ‘Junk’ in the drop-down list and then select Block Sender.

Via phone

If in doubt, don’t pick up the phone. Most people don’t enjoy answering unexpected phone calls, and it actually works in your favour. By simply letting the call go to voicemail, you can avoid a lot of spam callers. If they do decide to leave a message, it gives you time to think about whether or not it’s legitimate. Spam callers often rely on making you feel their directions are urgent and following them now is critical to staving off a crisis. Taking a moment to listen to your messages before choosing whether to call back allows you time to breathe and independently verify the nature of the call.  

Did you know the library offers great resources to help you evaluate the quality of journals and conferences

Publishing red flags

Examples of red flags: 

How do I stay safe? 

Want to learn more?

There are lots of resources on the Cyber Security Blog, Deakin Hub and Library websites.

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