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Most conferences have registration fees that can be paid online. However, some conferences (such as IBIMA) don't offer Web-based payment processing and instead require that fees be paid by (a) wire transfer or (b) by sending all credit card details (including card number, expiration date, CVV, cardholder name, signature) in a scanned attachment over standard e-mail.

Is this common practice, or should it be raising red flags?

  • In what sense a wire transfer is not online? – Miguel Oct 13 '17 at 7:47
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    “Is this common practice, or should it be raising red flags?” Unfortunately, the two are not mutually exclusive. – Pont Oct 13 '17 at 11:14
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    The thing about wire transfers may have to do with local practice. For people in the US, they're awkward and slow and expensive. For people in Europe, they're convenient and fast and cheap. So if a conference is organized in Europe, with most participants also coming from Europe, they may think it's fine for bank transfers to be the only way to pay, without really thinking that this will be a big pain for participants from other continents. – Nate Eldredge Oct 13 '17 at 13:47
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    The conference you linked seems dodgy. The journals liked to the same editor are too many and not well known. Reading some papers within the journals that are in my scope only reaffirms this feeling. Unfortunately Beall's list is not a thing anymore, but it is very likely this conference/editor was on it. One ovbious red flag is thelist of academic editors/pages listed in the conference webpage for no apparent reasons. Avoid this conference at all means. – Ander Biguri Oct 13 '17 at 15:07
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    @Ander Biguri Unrelated to the question, which is about economic practices, not about scientific quality. – Miguel Oct 13 '17 at 15:35
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(Not an answer but a long comment)

Sending credit card numbers via e-mail is a violation of the security standards of the credit card industry. See, for instance:

If you report the conference to your credit card issuer, they will risk a fine. The conference will then have to switch to another means of communicating credit card numbers that complies with these directives, such as an electronic payment form, fax or snail mail (sigh).

Note that these are indeed arguably more secure than e-mail, because they are much less vulnerable to remote hacking.

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One of the big conferences in my field did this. I facepalmed, but ended up mailing a scan of a form with my credit card details.

Unfortunately, conferences are organized by researchers, who are generally not event planning experts. They are likely to select the cheapest or easiest to set up solution, and not follow best practices. That makes it sometimes difficult to tell the difference from scams.

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    "Unfortunately, conferences are organized by researchers, who are generally not event planning experts. They are likely to select the cheapest or easiest to set up solution, and not follow best practices." I feel this is a bit too general statement: Some universities provide services for this purpose. For example, when we organized a conference, setting up the webpage for signing up and paying was handled by people who actually were kind of experts. But unfortunately, as your answer shows, it's not the same everywhere. – JiK Oct 13 '17 at 12:07
  • (cont'd) My point being, the current state is not something that we necessarily need to accept (although this answer kinda might seem to imply it in a way). I would encourage researchers to do what they can to get more and more universities offer such services. So we can have solutions that are both "easiest to set up" and secure and practical. – JiK Oct 13 '17 at 12:12
  • @JiK That sounds amazing and I've never heard of it before. Hundreds of graduate students would cry out in relief if such a service became more generally available. – nengel Oct 14 '17 at 2:02

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