With the growing popularity of e-books, scammers have found ways to capitalize on this new method of buying books. Some of these scams offer worthless material at a low price while others target authors or authorized publishers by pirating their books.
There are two main types of e-book fraud. The first is content farming, which consists of creating automatically generated content, web-collected content or fake content, turning it into an e-book, and then selling it.
The second type of fraud consists of scammers stealing an author’s book and then selling it as an e-book, even though they don’t own the copyright. Chances are it is a book that isn’t already available as an e-book, or it could be a “low cost” version of a book that is already available.
Scammers can easily fool consumers into buying the book by using multiple fake identities to give the book good reviews, which give the “author” a good reputation.
Better Business Bureau offers these tips to avoid buying an e-book that is less than what you expected:
- Stick with known authors. Buy from authors you have used in the past or that have been referred to you. If you decide to buy from an unfamiliar author, see if you can download a free sample first to test the quality.
- Make purchases through secure websites. Make sure that the site is secure when you place the order. Look for the ‘s’ in https:// at the beginning of the site’s URL on the page where you enter payment information.
- Don’t be taken in by great reviews that accompany cheap e-books. They may be genuine or the writers may have been paid to produce them. Do a search on the book name or author to see what other people say or how many other books the author claims to have written.
- Avoid clicking links in e-books. Don’t click on links inside an e-book. Malware is sometimes attached in order to obtain your credit card information.