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163 votes

What is this "can I hire you as a tutor" scam?

This is usually a version of a "babysitting scam", where some generous out-of-town person wants to pay you a royal ransom for some minor errand or babysitting someone you've never met. It goes a few ...
BrianH's user avatar
  • 21.4k
76 votes
Accepted

Why do publishing scams use "lҽttҽr ѕubstitυtҽs"?

"Unicode-obfuscation" (link to pdf) is a common spam-filter evasion technique that is not unique to publishing scams. Your sample is not representative, so it only appears as if other scams ...
henning no longer feeds AI's user avatar
57 votes
Accepted

Ethical implications of using scraped e-mail addresses for survey

I think it would be perceived as very shady and extremely irritating by all the people you are spamming. People spam legally all the time and it doesn't make anyone feel good about it that it's legal. ...
Bryan Krause's user avatar
  • 120k
54 votes

Why do publishing scams use "lҽttҽr ѕubstitυtҽs"?

This paper (Arxiv PDF Link) argues that it is indeed done to prevent spam filters. From their conclusion: Moreover, we tested this method with a Microsoft Business email. We first sent an email ...
Jeroen's user avatar
  • 8,236
43 votes
Accepted

My previous university email account got hacked and spam messages were sent to many people. What should I do?

Contact tech support and let them know what happened. They can probably clean it up appropriately. The apology message might be better if it comes from them. In any case, ask them for advice. Perhaps ...
Buffy's user avatar
  • 370k
41 votes
Accepted

Is it a good idea to unsubscribe from academic spam?

I used to believe what @Buffy said: That spammers will not honor unsubscribe requests. Eventually, I tried it and found that many of them do honor unsubscribe requests. That surprised me.
Anonymous Physicist's user avatar
38 votes

What do legit journal/conference/review invitations look like?

The #1 criterion is: they come from someone whose name you recognize as a respected colleague in the field. Or, at least, a conference or a journal that you know already. The #2 criterion is: they ...
Federico Poloni's user avatar
32 votes
Accepted

Invitation to help writing and submitting papers -- how does this scam work?

This is how I believe the actual scam works. There is some poor sod who has a low quality research paper and who wants it to appear in a reputable journal by unethical means if need be. Maybe they ...
quarague's user avatar
  • 7,197
28 votes
Accepted

How can corresponding authors protect themselves from academic spam?

We all deal with this curse. Sad as it is, I suspect that your only option is to endure it -- my take is that papers ask you to provide an email address of record in some sort of official way, and ...
Wolfgang Bangerth's user avatar
28 votes

Ethical implications of using scraped e-mail addresses for survey

Spam (noun): 1. irrelevant or unsolicited messages sent over the internet, typically to a large number of users, for the purposes of advertising, phishing, spreading malware, etc. (source: Google &...
Neinstein's user avatar
  • 2,202
23 votes

Invitation to help writing and submitting papers -- how does this scam work?

Who pays for those services in an amount sufficient to pay me and those middlemen? Oh, a lot, lot of people! Only a fraction of the people who can benefit from publication credit actually have the ...
Cheery's user avatar
  • 14.1k
23 votes

Is it a good idea to unsubscribe from academic spam?

I don't have evidence for my method other than personal experience. However, I take a per-message approach to unsubscribing. In the US, the spam I get usually comes from two sources. Spam from "...
Ian's user avatar
  • 3,691
20 votes
Accepted

Is it wise to try to remove myself from predator mailinglists?

The problem is that unsubscribing to the e-mail list requires you to follow a link send to you in e-mail. As general rule this is already something that you should be hesitant to do, even with e-mails ...
TimRias's user avatar
  • 12.5k
18 votes
Accepted

Should I accept this invitation to conference PC?

If your alarm bells are ringing, but the offered position is attractive, then there are ways to check it out without causing problems. Example: The person who's name is on this invite will have ...
puppetsock's user avatar
  • 1,077
16 votes
Accepted

Why are incorrect characters so prominant in spam journal emails?

The reason these "look-alike" characters are used in predatory journal spam is the same reason they are used in all types of spam: it is an attempt to bypass spam filters. At least ...
Ian's user avatar
  • 3,691
14 votes

Is it wise to try to remove myself from predator mailinglists?

The question is if unsubscribing would be without negative consequences. You can't know in advance, even if others have had positive experiences. Predatory journals aren't well-behaved. (I suggest ...
user2768's user avatar
  • 40.9k
12 votes

What do legit journal/conference/review invitations look like?

I am from a mathematical background, so I hope this information is not too field specific but in my experience legit conference invitations travel exclusively through personal connections. So the ...
quarague's user avatar
  • 7,197
12 votes

Ethical implications of using scraped e-mail addresses for survey

Apart from varying ethical issues (and human-subject issues: yes, consult your IRB...), from a statistical viewpoint your sample will be biased by self-selection (or not). Also, despite their attempt ...
paul garrett's user avatar
  • 89.1k
11 votes

Should I accept this invitation to conference PC?

Is that normal, or should that ring some bells? It is normal to have received an e-mail inviting me to join the program committee even better that it is for a well-established and renowned ...
user2768's user avatar
  • 40.9k
10 votes

What is this "can I hire you as a tutor" scam?

It's a form of the advance fee scam. I handle the e-mail for a martial arts dojo and deal with that style of inquiry often. The scam is that they will be paying you via check and will "accidentally" ...
user3347790's user avatar
9 votes

Should I accept review requests from dubious journals?

I attempted to review for some of these "predatory" journals, thinking: if the papers are genuinely peer reviewed, how bad could it be? I now consider it a poor decision on my part. My impression ...
Rebecca J. Stones's user avatar
7 votes

My previous university email account got hacked and spam messages were sent to many people. What should I do?

The first step is to reset your password, not just on this account, but everywhere that you use the same password or have easy to guess passwords. Then contact your IT support for advice. They will ...
Prachtig's user avatar
6 votes

Is it a good idea to unsubscribe from academic spam?

Yes I can think of three reasons not to unsubscribe. The first is that it takes effort. If you believe that the effort it takes to unsubscribe is greater than the effort to delete all future academic ...
Allure's user avatar
  • 132k
6 votes

Why are incorrect characters so prominant in spam journal emails?

Adding to the IT answer "Why do so many spam emails lately contain a lot of unicode characters?" from Infomration Security SE site , there is a sociological answer: when you do a scam, you ...
EarlGrey's user avatar
  • 19.1k
5 votes
Accepted

Answering form letter graduate school application emails

I use a form letter to reply to some* of these emails: [Given Name of Person], Thank you for your interest in my research. Please submit an application to our graduate program via [my ...
Vladhagen's user avatar
  • 18.9k
5 votes

How can corresponding authors protect themselves from academic spam?

I sometimes read these spams, for the purpose of finding key phrases/words that can be used to filter them out (not delete, in case they are legit), I've noticed the following wording/phrasing: Dr [...
PandaPants's user avatar
5 votes

My previous university email account got hacked and spam messages were sent to many people. What should I do?

Would it be appropriate for me to send them an apology email? The problem is that somebody else sent a useless automated message. If you send another automated message, this will not help the ...
Anonymous Physicist's user avatar
5 votes

Ethical implications of using scraped e-mail addresses for survey

The ethical and effective way to do work like this is to work with various journals (or whatever Web of Science is, if you need to work with them specifically) directly, so that the email can come ...
Joe's user avatar
  • 798
5 votes

Ethical implications of using scraped e-mail addresses for survey

This is always a tight line to walk along and, as the majority of other answers have clearly stated, there are plenty of reasons why spam is bad. I get a lot of spam every day -- from penis ...
Landak's user avatar
  • 834

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