[Taxacom] [Nhcoll-l] Nepal "visiting researcher" scam revisited

Doug Yanega dyanega at ucr.edu
Fri Jul 12 16:42:35 CDT 2013

For clarification: the present case, and those in the past, are KNOWN to 
be fraudulent, otherwise I would not be here wasting people's time. Over 
time, these requests have progressed from fictitious people at 
fictitious institutions, to outright identity theft of legitimate 
researchers and their websites, as in the present case. The existence of 
these frauds does in fact threaten to make it so that no Nepali 
researcher will ever be able to visit another country, because - like 
Nigel Monahan said - anyone who gets such a visitation request will 
simply delete it.

This is a very serious criminal matter, with potentially serious 
repercussions. The only way to fight this is to be aware of it, and take 
*appropriate steps* to confirm or refute the legitimacy of any such 
requests - including making any known frauds public, so others don't 
fall prey to them. Naively accepting requests and writing letters just 
because the name and website looks good is just as dangerous as 
arbitrarily rejecting every such request without doing any 
investigation. I don't imagine that it would reflect well on one's 
institution if it ever came to be known that one sent a letter of 
invitation that resulted in visa fraud (and illegal entry), nor would it 
reflect well to reject a legitimate request and insult or impede a 
fellow scientist.

Maybe, as academics, we're not trained to be suspicious, but that could 
be the very reason these frauds persist; we're easy targets. But we also 
can't become so paranoid that it makes collaboration impossible, and I 
hope no one feels that I was advocating any such knee-jerk reaction. I'm 
advocating that people be AWARE so they can make well-informed decisions.


Doug Yanega      Dept. of Entomology       Entomology Research Museum
Univ. of California, Riverside, CA 92521-0314     skype: dyanega
phone: (951) 827-4315 (disclaimer: opinions are mine, not UCR's)
   "There are some enterprises in which a careful disorderliness
         is the true method" - Herman Melville, Moby Dick, Chap. 82

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