* This post originally appeared on www.worldstart.com where I work as the content editor and head writer.
I’ve warned you guys about the dangers of pirated copies of books and movies. Many times, these sites are just an excuse to load your PC up with malware that can steal your information. I happened to come across an example today. And this example involves a book that I wrote. In addition to writing tech tips, I also write mystery novels. And I have to admit that I sometimes Google myself just to see if anyone is talking about my books. (writers are a needy bunch, sometimes.) I was not happy to see this result.
The only place you’d ever find a giveaway for my book (and probably anyone else’s) is through a legitimate eBook seller like Barnes & Noble, Google Play, iTunes, or Amazon. One sure red flag is that the side is called paid$#*!for free. Go there and you’ll be greeted by this page. Which looks like you’re about to get a free download in the ePub format.
But before you get a chance to steal my book, you’ll see this little pop-up warning you that you need to click Disable. Those of you who’ve read our articles about fake tech support scams and fake update pop-ups probably think this all looks pretty familiar. If you click that disable button, you’re actually enabling adware, malware, or who knows what on your PC. Maybe it’s a keylogger that follows your every move and steals your bank info.
Maybe it’s ransomware that takes your PC hostage. Maybe you don’t even get to steal my book. There’s no guarantee that download is actually even there. Now the same holds true for pirated movies and music. If you see a movie that’s currently out at the box office available to watch online, think twice before clicking. You may think you’re saving a few bucks by stealing a viewing when in reality you’re costing yourself hundreds or thousands by giving up information or trashing your device. If someone is willing to steal from a studio or from me, what makes you think they wouldn’t steal from you?
So, don’t steal from anyone, especially me. If you don’t want to pay for stuff, your local library has all kinds of things for free. In the past when I’ve warned you about free book scams, some of you have asked about newsletters like Book Bub and Book Gorilla that offer free and discounted eBook specials. These newsletters are legitimate and offer author and publisher approved specials and they always direct you to the sites for major eBook retailers.