Fraudulent emails requesting payment: a warning for authors

Tips on how to stay safe when publishing

Fraudulent emails image
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At Elsevier, we want to help all our authors to stay safe when publishing. We are aware that there are a number of scams in operation which seek to fraudulently obtain money from authors. Typically these schemes take the form of emails purporting to be from a journal’s editorial office, asking the author(s) to pay a fee. Often this request is made at the same time as announcing that the paper has been accepted for publication even though, in reality, it is still in the editorial review workflow. Below are some tips for how you can avoid being scammed and stay safe when publishing.

Generally, it is a good idea to “trust your gut instinct” with these situations. Similar to the Think.Check.Submit. initiative, you need to apply the same caution to these situations. If at any time you receive a communication about the publication process which makes you feel uneasy then do not hesitate to contact our researcher support team.

Watch out for the following features which may prompt you that the communication in question is fraudulent:

Email address

  • All legitimate emails from Elsevier requesting payment will come from an “@elsevier.com” address. Therefore, please delete anything that claims to come from Elsevier but does not come from such an address.
  • Ignore all emails coming from free email services such as Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail, etc.
  • While less common, it is possible to write a fraudulent email containing the "@elsevier.com" address. Sometimes these fraudulent emails also contain the true contact info of an Elsevier employee in the "signature" section of the message. Please be sure to keep in mind the other points in this article when responding to emails.

Timing

  • If you were not expecting a communication or you already know that the paper is at a different stage of the publication process, be wary of emails suggesting otherwise.
  • You can always verify the progress of your paper in the online submission system.

Language issues

  • If the email contains misspellings, casual or unprofessional language and/or is in a different style from other emails from Elsevier, these are danger signs.
  • Occasionally a fraudulent message will be “sandwiched” in an otherwise legitimate message (the scam having made use of language from other, legitimate communications to create the impression of respectability).

Requests for payment

  • Especially if you have not chosen to publish in a gold open access journal, you should be wary of any communication requesting that you transfer money to enable publication.
  • In the case of gold OA journals, Elsevier will only ask for payment after your paper has been accepted for publication.

Signature

  • Emails requesting payment will never be signed by “senior management” or similar.

Submission site

  • Always use the journal’s actual submission site (as per the guide for authors via the journal homepage) to complete your submission (don’t trust external services to do this for you).
  • If you are considering submitting to a journal with which you are not familiar, follow the guidance at Think.Check.Submit. before doing so.
  • Educate yourself (and your colleagues) about the hazards of predatory publishers and journals.

Example of a fraudulent email

Example of a fraudulent email

If you believe you have been targeted by a fraudulent email campaign, please delete the email, do not open any attachments to the email, block the sender and notify our researcher support team if you require any additional assistance.

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