Beware of the Online Book Swap Scam


It’s doing the rounds on social media but don’t fall for it because it’s actually an illegal pyramid scheme

CHARLOTTE, NC – It’s doing the rounds on social media: The Book Exchange. He promises 36 books sent by people from all over the world.

In return, all you have to do is send a book to a foreigner and invite six others to participate in the so-called “pay it forward” exchange.

Sounds simple enough and actually a really good deal – 36 books from other book lovers around the world and all you have to do is send in a book?

I’m not going to lie, when the offer popped up in my social media feed, I was tempted to join but decided against it, and thank goodness because it turns out that this exchange of books is a hoax.

As Director of Consulting Solutions at TrustedSec, Alex Hamerstone is a cybersecurity expert.

He is well versed in online scams.

WCNC Charlotte always asks “where’s the money?” If you need help, contact the Defenders team by email [email protected].

Book swapping is no different from other scams that seem to pop up periodically on social media. It works just like the gift exchange scam that Hamerstone warned about over the holidays.

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“What they’re going to do (the scammers) is try to get you to sign up for these gift exchanges, get you to send people gifts with the promise of getting hundreds back through some sort of multiplier effect. and you end up getting nothing,” Hamerstone said, “So they get your stuff and you get nothing back.”

The Better Business Bureau warns that the Book Exchange is actually an illegal pyramid scheme.

While it’s possible you’ll receive a book or two, you’ve also been inadvertently tricked into giving your personal details to a complete stranger as well as the personal details of the six friends you’ve recruited to participate.

At the end of the line ? Take Hamerstone’s advice: “If it sounds too good to be true, it almost always is.”

Contact Carolyn Bruck at [email protected] and follow her on Facebook, Twitter and instagram.


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