I guess it’s not really news that the Internet is a strange place but, for me, it got a little bit more weird than usual, recently. As self obsessed as it may potentially sound, I have a Google Alert set up for my name, meaning that I get an email pretty much anytime someone mentions me on the Internet. Personally I find it quite helpful, and I would recommend it to anyone trying to build an online platform, especially as it’s free, but that’s not what I wanted to talk about today. Today I wanted to document a strange thing that happened, which my Google Alert (fittingly) alerted me to: someone’s set up a complicated kind of scam linked to an illegal version of one of my books!
I don’t know the ins and outs of how it works but, basically, there’s a website out there in which Fake Person A asks where they can get a free electronic version of a specific book by me, and Fake Person B replies with a very dodgy link to what I believe to be a virus. Not only a virus, but one you have to pay to download. And not only a single payment, but a set of monthly payments that seems difficult to unsubscribe from once set up.
How do I know these people are fake? Well, this is the weird part – every time you load the page it tells you it’s on a different website, the people’s names have changed, the linked profiles don’t exist, and the messages are written ever so slightly differently. I can’t imagine what kind of coding goes into something like that but, actually, I’m a little impressed.*
Anyway, I guess the moral to the story is to keep an eye on what people are doing, and don’t try to download any illegal books.
The stupidity of the thing is that subscription to the “free” download site would cost more than the official eBook version anyway. *shakes head and sighs deeply* Stay safe online kids!
*If you’re wondering, Google really frowns on such things, and I’m confident they’ll block the link soon.