Scammers target Harry Potter fans

Scammers selling fake access to beta site
Kerry Butters

August 5, 2011

A new Harry Potter site is on the way, which is good news for fans hungry for more of the boy wizard following the release of the final film.

The site is currently still in beta and as such, is only allowing registration for a select few.

However, scammers have caught on to the demand for accounts and are taking advantage in a variety of ways, including selling registered accounts on ebay.

Pottermore was set up by creator J.K. Rowling as “an online reading experience built around the Harry Potter books”. The site, due to launch in October, allows users to participate in stories and discover more information about the fictional world and the author herself.

Early registration is restricted but potential users can gain early access by solving a puzzle on the homepage. The Magical Quill, as the puzzle is called, only appears on the site for a limited amount of time daily and registration is only open whilst there are still places to fill.

The huge popularity of Harry means that places do not appear on the site for very long, and this has given scammers an opportunity to ‘sell’ access to the site using a variety of methods.

Ebay auctions promising early access have been set up selling accounts for up to $100, and videos have appeared on Youtube showing evidence that sellers have got into the site.

Another scam promises a free download (apparently) that enables you to access the site if you fill in several hundred surveys (although they always promise it is just one quick survey and don’t mention the premium rate texts that inevitably follow).

Web pages have also been set up so that when a user searches for Pottermore, a page with a different URL will show up which contains malicious software.

The Pottermore blog advises users of these issues and comments: “Please do not buy, sell, or transfer Pottermore early access accounts. Obtaining Beta registration for Pottermore with the intent of selling on those registration details for monetary gain not only deprives genuine fans the chance to gain early access, it is also expressly prohibited in The Magical Quill promotion Terms & Conditions.”

“We have the right to terminate any Pottermore accounts that are sold online. Access to Pottermore is, and always will be, completely free so please don’t be tempted by people selling Pottermore accounts online. You will only be wasting your money - and there are still more clues and chances to come!”


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