How an Amazon Self-Published Book May Be the Latest Money Laundering Scam

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February 22 2018

Crooks have used everything from cash real estate purchases to bottles of Tide detergent to Bitcoin to launder ill-gotten gains. Now you can add a new scheme to the list that relies on a most unlikely product: books.

Some authors on Amazon’s self-publishing print book service have had their identities stolen and then used to launder money, according to cybercrime reporter Brian Krebs. The crooks upload phony but expensive paperback titles to the stolen authors’ accounts via Amazon’s CreateSpace service and then “buy” dozens of books, transferring funds to legitimate bank accounts, he reports. Amazon typically pays authors 60% of a book’s list price on CreateSpace after deducting production and other charges.