Consumers urged to beware of e-book refund scam

The state’s Better Business Bureau is warning people to be on guard about refund emails received from online book sellers.

Amazon and Barnes and Noble have begun sending out refund notices to consumers who bought e-books between April, 2010 and May, 2012, as part of the settlement of a price-fixing lawsuit. While those refunds are totally legitimate, Connecticut’s Better Business Bureau is warning consumers to beware of potential fake versions of the email.

The refunds are the result of a suit brought by the Justice Department and attorneys general in 33 states against five publishers and Apple, who were accused of artificially inflating the price of digital books. The refunded amount is credited directly to consumers. The emails do contain links, but rather than clicking on them, recipients can simply log-in to their accounts directly to look for the refund.

The Better Business Bureau is warning that if you receive a notice that appears to come from Amazon or Barnes and Noble but asks for personal information or includes an attachment, it is likely a phishing email that may either download malicious software or ask for personal or financial information.

Although there have been no reports of phony emails related to the settlement, in the past, cybercriminals moved quickly to replicate these kinds of emails.

The total cost of the settlement is $155 million, and affects 23 million consumers. The average cost of the payout is about $7.00, depending on how many books were purchased during the period mentioned in the lawsuit.

The Better Business Bureau encourages consumers who receive a notice of refund or credit to confirm whether the funds appear in their store accounts.

You can find more information about the lawsuit and settlement at ebooksagsettlements.com. If you have questions, get in touch with the settlement administrators at 866-621-4153.

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