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 Is this a scam? (Egyptian Ph.D. applicant)

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DerPharisäer
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Joined: 14 Jun 2006
Posts: 3
Location: Felix Austria


PostPosted: Mon Jan 15, 2007 12:01 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Hello colleagues!

My mother got the following e-mail some days ago and aksed me to check what it is about. Some Egyptian student asks her to accept her as a Ph.D. student.

The thing is that although my mother is active in the field of talented children research or how you want to call it, she is no university professor or anything similar. Also, our mother tongue is German ("Deutsch"), in case you were wondering.

Quote:
Von: yasmina kamal [mailto:[email protected]]
Gesendet: Samstag, 13. Jänner 2007 13:15
An: [email protected]
Betreff: p.h D student

Dear/Prof.Dr [my mother's name but spelled incorrectly]

Happy New Year

I am Miss Yasmin Ramadan Kamal . I am an assistant lecturer of Mental Hygiene, Psychology Department, Qena Faculty of Education, South Valley University, Egypt.

I already have a scholarship for Four years, completely funded by the Egyptian Government.

I studied Deutsch and I have "Grunde Stufe" from Cairo Goethe Institute.

I am interested in working in the field of Childhood/Talented and Gifted Children.

I am looking forward to be accepted by you as a Ph.D. student,

please I need an acceptance Letter.

With kind regards,

Yasmin Ramadan Kamal .




So ... is this some sort of scam or is this really a desperate Egyptian student with English and German skills so bad she cannot realize my mother does not work for a university?

My Google research revealed:
1) There is a South Valley University in Egypt.
2) There is a Dr. Yasmin Ramadan Kamal working at South Valley University according to www.arabdecision.net (reliable??). No other hits.
3) Her e-mail adress does not yield any hits.

Anyway, I would really like to hear your opinion on this. If she is real, my mother wants to suggest to her some people she can really apply to.

Thanks,
DP

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Tsnerd
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 15, 2007 12:14 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Most likely some type of overpayment scam- she would offer to pay tuition fees bv sending a check or money order and needing the difference wired back to her.

Any serious student (and especially an assistant lecturer at a university) would be able to find the proper channels to apply for higher learning courses abroad, either through university websites or through their advisors or faculty at the school they were attending.

You should advise your mom to just delete the email and give a heads-up to her colleagues to keep a watch for emails of this type.

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firehouse5
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 15, 2007 3:54 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

The enquiry looks like many others I've seen from actual desperate wannabe PhD students who don't have any clue. Except for the immediate mention of an acceptance letter, which really screams "scam" to me.

Anyway, surely any of her colleagues would spot this as not worth pursuing -- applying for a PhD entails far more than writing a letter to someone and getting a "yes" response. Corresponding with enquiries like this is a total waste of time.

Therefore I'd recommend just to delete the message and not do anything else with it.

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pwwbear
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 15, 2007 4:36 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Another thought, which passed through my mind. The asking for a letter of acceptance might be used to gain an immigration visa.

There was a sort of scandal here in Canada, where doctored letters of acceptance were used to get student visas and of course once here they disappeared.

The letters were legit at one time, but through photoshop and other methods were altered and sold to other would be students.

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Luther Blissett
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 15, 2007 4:39 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

^^^ What pwwbear said. I've seen similar attempts before in hotels where people would make a booking and insist on a particularly worded confirmation letter which they then use for immigration purposes...

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Yastreb
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 15, 2007 7:25 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Invitiation letters have featured in a few scams, though the Lads never followed up on them. I'd assumed them to be widnow-dressing.

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st.piran
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 15, 2007 7:29 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Mental Hygiene! Brilliant! Have you looked at the headers? Smile
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The Smily Cancer
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 15, 2007 7:37 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

TSnerd wrote:
Any serious student (and especially an assistant lecturer at a university) would be able to find the proper channels to apply for higher learning courses abroad, either through university websites or through their advisors or faculty at the school they were attending.


I've made the same experiences as firehouse5. In my work at university things like that happened all the time. Tons of prospective, phd students from eastern europe the near east and the like apply for that, he probably needs some sort of acceptance letter for the visa entry. It's pointless anyway, as your mother seems not to be entitled to write such letters. I think she's for real but very clueless (the student, not your mother). I"d tell her that I'm not responsible and that he needs to apply at his desired university.

Since his german seems not to be the best ("Grunde Stufe" Rolling Eyes ) it might've been a misunderstanding. When I was in Austria recently, I found it confusing (I'm german) that nearly everyone who has a higher job holds a title, such as "Professor" (teachers for example) or "Magister" , although they have no relationship to the university.

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DerPharisäer
Hello I'm New here!


Joined: 14 Jun 2006
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Location: Felix Austria


PostPosted: Mon Jan 15, 2007 8:07 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Thank you all for your comments.
I will advise my mother to ignore the e-mail and maybe send her the address of the homepage of the University of Vienna from another mail account myself.

@The Smily Cancer:
Yes, titles still play an incredibly important role for many Austrians (especially those without "real" titles like Doktor or [University] Professor). I bet we are the University of Palau's top client in the Honorary Degrees business Very Happy

Best wishes,
DP

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Tsnerd
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 15, 2007 9:15 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

@Firehouse and TSC- thank you, folks. Very Happy
I have learned something new- a little boggling, but new none-the-less

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