12 November 2020

AAS Meeting Attendee Lists Are Not for Sale

Richard Fienberg

Richard Fienberg AAS Solar Eclipse Task Force

Scam AlertIt happens with alarming regularity. In the months preceding each AAS meeting, messages start showing up in members' and exhibitors' inboxes offering for sale a list of attendees with "complete contact details and verified email addresses."

If you receive such a message, you should ignore/delete it: it's a scam.

As noted in our privacy policy, the AAS and its Divisions take precautions to protect members' and meeting attendees' personal information, including encrypting our websites and requiring users to sign in to gain access to our online directory and meeting-registrant lists. We do not share our attendee lists with third parties and have taken steps to prevent harvesting of our data.

It appears that the scammers have compiled their own lists of astronomers using publicly available information, such as by doing Google searches and copying contact details from online faculty directories and similar sources. Based on what we've seen, the information is often incomplete and/or inaccurate. In any case, it did not come from the AAS. So, caveat emptor (buyer beware)!

You needn't report the receipt of such emails to the AAS — we get them too, and there doesn't appear to be anything we can do to stop them.

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