A recent fraudulent incident in which criminals posted what by all appearances was a legitimate consumer show registration site on the Internet, resulted in 6,000 attendees and dozens of exhibitors losing hundreds of thousands of dollars. The advertised event, “Boston 411 Home and Bridal Show,” was to be held at the Hynes Convention Center in Boston. Both the FBI and city police officials are conducting an investigation.
The International Association of Assembly Managers (IAAM) and the International Association of Exhibitions and Events (IAEE) together suggest that this matter should serve as a dramatic reminder that potential attendees and exhibitors must take additional precautions to establish the legitimacy of events, especially when dealing with unfamiliar Internet-only operations.
The organizations recommend the following:
• Know who you are dealing with and if you are unsure about the legitimacy of the event, ask the organizer for references including previous exhibitors before paying for space or tickets.
• Contact the local convention halls and visitors authority or bureaus as well as the facility at which the event is reported to be scheduled and confirm the event and the event organizer have a legal contract for exhibit space.
• Convention and exhibition halls and convention and visitors bureaus are urged not to list any event for which a contract has not been properly executed on their public schedules.
• Check with industry organizations such as the IAEE or the IAAM to determine if the organizer of the event is recognized as a legitimate organizer.