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Now that I have Harry Potter fans foaming at the mouth for randomly mashing up two unrelated spells to express the intent of this blog entry, I’ll continue.

Pottermore is – help me out here, Wikipedia – a site that will sell eBooks of the Harry Potter novels, provide over 18,000 words of additional content including background details and settings and “experience” the events of the books first hand. All I know is, lots of Harry Potter fans are excited.

Access is currently limited for the Beta, and of course this means ole’ lightning forehead has become a prime target for scams and people wanting to turn a quick profit. Things you should be keeping an eye out for, and running away from:

1) The Official Blog has listed some things you probably shouldn’t be getting involved in. Individuals offering to “register on your behalf, with your details” should be avoided. Buying and / or selling accounts on places such as eBay? Don’t go there, Hermione. Not only are you “depriving genuine fans”, you’re also giving money to random people and hoping they give you access to the accounts they claim they’ve set up. You have some protection in place should you start dabbling in eBay auctions (though not from the price – $100 for a “Buy it now”? Oh dear):

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Go throwing your cash around on “myfakewebsite(dot)whatever” and you may be in a little more trouble.

2) Videos on Youtube. I guess if someone is willing to pay up to $100 for Beta access that may not even exist, they’d certainly be willing to walk right into this “Old as the hills” favourite:

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“Beta access” available for “Download”. At the risk of making like Nostradamus, I wonder if we’ll see a survey?

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A big hand for the most tiresome scam in history, everybody!

The individual who sent you there will (of course) make some affiliate money should you fill in a survey or enter a competition – meanwhile, after handing over your data to some random marketers you’ll be “blessed” with a download which typically turns out to be A) Nothing, or B) Malware.

3) Malware and poisoned search results. Another obvious one, but even so here’s a random example found after a few minutes digging around:

The Malware diagnosis for that one can be seen here. It seems to be clean at time of writing, but six exploits, five Trojans and two scripting exploits would have been more than enough to give you bad hair day. You can expect more hacked sites serving Malware alongside poisoned search engine results – both text and image. If your kids are happily babbling on about the joys of Pottermore, it may well be worth sitting down with them and pointing out the types of shenanigans they need to avoid.
Muggles, eh? Can’t turn your back on them for more than five minutes…
Christopher Boyd

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