Ebook Scam, Buy Once Then Pay Again and Again

For one company, Kindle, it was recently revealed that 2.2 million people use their ebook reader which has resulted in 2.8 million products downloaded. This makes this one company a billion dollar enterprise. When you consider how many types of readers are now on the market, including SmartBoards, Nook, e-Ink, and others, it's easy to see how this industry has now become the wave of the future and financially one of the most profitable in the world. Plus, technology is improving them almost as fast as they can be generated which is drawing new users on a daily basis.


One of the newest scams associated with this industry is called Ebook charging scams. Basically, this is where a book is downloaded from an online scammer only to have charges appear on the credit card again and again. This is a fraudulent act that has been difficult to stop. With each subsequent charge the money is then wired to a syndicate, often out of the country, where is very difficult to retrieve. When considering how much money is paid for a single book, if one clicks "I accept" without reading the fine print or knowing who they're really dealing with, they may soon find additional charges appearing on their credit card with no way to stop it.



There are a couple of ways this type of fraud works. This most common is when a request for free ebooks redirects users to scam sites where, not only is a plethora of junk sold, but the consumer is encouraged to buy high priced ebooks where they can also earn a free set of Ginzu Knives as a bonus. Anytime an individual seeks something and is redirected to a site filled with items for sale, it's more than likely a scam and should be avoided.



Another way that scam sites work is that the desired ebook is sold for a very reasonable amount, say $4.99, but within the fine print of the terms and conditions is a clause saying that a charge of $9.99 will be applied to the account monthly. Unfortunately, users are not told how to cancel the ongoing monthly fee and, as it turns out, it is almost impossible to do. This is also a fraudulent act, but is much more difficult to cancel since in reality you have agreed to pay the amount.



Calling the bank offers little resolution. This is because the "I accept" box was clicked which authorizes whatever charges are included in the "contract." Although you might think it is a one-time charge for the $4.99, only the fine print will let you know whether or not monthly fees are also included. For those who change their minds, banks will complete what's called a "charge back" only once the original charge has been processed, but if there is an ongoing automatic monthly deduction, this does not apply and cannot be stopped except by the scam artist. Unfortunately, a chargeback provides the information for the scammer to steal the identity of the card holder. Either way, it's a bad solution.



The only way to completely stop a preapproved automatic monthly deduction is to get it stopped by the company itself. When you think about it, however, how many companies are going to say go ahead and stop that monthly charge for that customer? The answer is very few and never in the case of scammers. Many consumers find that the only way to stop these recurring payments is to close the account and start over. This can be extremely difficult, time consuming, and stressful especially when credit cards that carry a large balance are used. It means that the card would have to be paid off in full in order to close it, but with monthly charges added continuously this can become a difficult cycle to break.



Ebook scams are a billion dollar industry that is ultimately costing consumers their financial security. The best advice is to read the fine print before clicking "I accept." Know what you're getting into when giving out credit card information online and learn to use the thousands of free ebooks that are now available through the local library. After all, there is no sense in paying good money for something you can get for free from a reliable source.
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