Another (Baffling) Free Ebook Scam

Two authors: one would like to buy my novel, the other says it changed her life. What do they have in common? Their identities were impersonated online by another free ebook scam.

Lee Penney, the author in search of a good rock vampire novel, found himself an unwitting victim of the scam and decided to investigate. Lee is an IT specialist so knew his way around domains and scripts, but even he was left baffled by the online paper trail that led from the Bahamas to Macedonia. You can read his article here: I’m Not A Book Pirate.

One thing that did crop up in all the investigations, was a weird website called wunnibook.us With various domain siblings, wunnibook crops up as a fake Kindle User Forum, a fake OpenMamba forum and a fake Comic Book Resources forum, all of them hidden by a hijacked domain name, in my case when I looked, PrecisionEngines.

For the author Kath Middleton, who incidentally has not read my novel and thus didn’t have her life changed by it, real links to her own real websites appeared on the fake forums, leading to Kath being contacted by people who had encountered the scam and the fake websites.

Lee Penney did come to one conclusion in his article. These websites are probably fronts to harvest email addresses or load trojans, viruses and malware onto people’s computers. They’re not offering free ebooks out of altruism to cash strapped book readers. And there’s the rub. If these freeloaders are being infected in the course of stealing an ebook by not paying for it, good! I hope they have a torrid time trying to remove the virus from their computers.

What do they say about dens of thieves and nests of vipers? Let the conmen infect the book thieves. They deserve one another.

The lesson this time is to beware of what details you include on a web forum. You don’t know who might just borrow them…

Lee Penney’s website is here – LeePenney.com

Kath Middleton’s website is here – KathMiddletonBooks.com

and the real Kindle Users Forum is here – KUForum.co.uk

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4 thoughts on “Another (Baffling) Free Ebook Scam

  1. I’ve heard about this scam before and have had another of my author friends fall for it. It was an awful feeling for her to see her book pirated on another site and trying her best to eradicate it from the net. Thanks for the heads-up on this site. I’ll make sure not not go there!

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    1. It is a gut wrenching thing, but I think the books themselves might not be for sale. They seem to be there to draw people into giving their email addresses, credit card details and what have you. I think punters looking for a free ebook are the intended victims, not the authors. Still sucks though, to be dragged into someone else’s scam.

      Liked by 1 person

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