Warning about Copycat Offenders – Imitation Congress Websites
Are you planning to attend an international congress?
We strongly urge that you undertake all preparations for your participation e.g. registration, hotel and travel reservations etc. via the websites of the official congress organiser (PCO) and/or the designated housing agents only! PCOs & official housing agents stand guarantor for quality!
Currently, various websites from unauthorised sources imitate congress websites and make offers for registration and hotel bookings. The authorised housing agent negotiates special room rates for congress participants. The handling and payment for these housing allotments is therefore secure and guaranteed. Imitation sites invite congress participants to supply their personal details and promise, in return, to provide offers for travel and accommodation. Authorised partners DO NOT place telephone calls or e-mails requesting the personal details or credit card information of participants! Please on no account supply your details over the telephone. Your PCO will always provide you with the official registration and booking forms, either in written format or online. Your personal data will be treated securely and the purchased and paid services are ensured.
These imitation websites are recognizable in particular through the following features:
- the identity of the organiser or host is not clear. In some cases, the legal notice will actually state that the website in question is NOT the official congress website and that it does not have any official relationship with the congress in question.
- the fake sites usually do not offer the means for participants to book directly via the website. Instead, the participants are simply requested to provide their personal details in return for an offer for a hotel reservation or congress registration. In other words, potential participants part with their personal details but have no guarantee that they will receive the services they have requested via this route.
In addition to the imitation websites, a further attempt to defraud is being increasingly observed:
Faculty members whose names appear in the programme published online are being contacted directly either by phone or email. The caller presents him/herself as an official member of the congress team or host organisation. Offers of hotel rooms are made, deposit and credit card details requested for accommodation blocks that have sometimes not even been secured. In the worst case, speakers arrive onsite to find neither a reservation has been made nor a hotel room has been booked for them and the advance payments cannot be refunded.