[ISN] Rowling to Potter fans: Watch out for phishing scams

InfoSec News isn at c4i.org
Thu Feb 3 01:11:35 EST 2005


By Paul Majendie
FEBRUARY 02, 2005 

Author J.K. Rowling is warning Harry Potter fans to watch out for
Internet fraudsters claiming to be selling electronic copies of her
latest wizard saga -- they are trying to steal bank and credit card
details. In the latest phishing scam, fans were asked to hand over
financial information to pay for a supposed copy of Harry Potter and
the Half-Blood Prince, which is to be published on July 16.

"Please, please protect yourselves, your computers and your credit
cards and do not fall for these scams," the writer said, after her
lawyers succeeded in closing down a fraudulent Web site that offered
the latest Potter book in electronic form.

Rowling, whose tales of a teenage wizard have turned her into a
multimillionaire and revived children's passion for reading, warned
that the scam artists could reappear. "I would bet the original
manuscript of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince itself that this
will not be the last attempt to con HP fans before publication of the
book," she said on her official site.

Telling fans never to trust anyone who offers downloads of Potter
books, Rowling said they could be laid open to computer viruses or
hackers. "The only genuine copies of Harry Potter remain the
authorized traditional book or audio tapes/cassettes/CDs distributed
through my publishers," she said.

Phishing frauds have become common over the past two years as more
consumers have begun to do personal banking on the Internet. Banks
advise their customers to be wary of any e-mail asking for personal

Police suspect that organized crime gangs from Eastern Europe are the
main culprits.

Rowling's copyright lawyer, Neil Blair, told Reuters, "They were
asking for money and people's credit cards. This was a phishing scam."

Blair, who monitors the Internet for copyright infringements for
Rowling, said, "We spotted it and also heard from a fan site called
The Leaky Cauldron, which had alerted us. We got it shut down very

According to Blair, Rowling has never granted licenses for electronic
versions of any of her books.

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