Are Money Launderers Using CreateSpace to Victimize Authors? And, is CreateSpace to Blame for Not Vetting Books?

Are Money Launderers Using CreateSpace to Victimize Authors? And, is CreateSpace to Blame for Not Vetting Books?

“Associate with men of good quality if you esteem your own reputation; for it is better to be alone than in bad company.”
– George Washington

CreateSpace (which is owned by Amazon) was recently criticized in THIS ARTICLE for publishing a fraudulent book under a real author’s name in what stinks to high heaven of a money laundering scheme.

In the article, the author (victim) states, “I have reviewed numerous Createspace titles and its clear to me that there may be hundreds if not thousands of similar fraudulent books on their site,” Reames said. “These books contain no real content, only dozens of pages of gibberish or computer generated text.”

Here’s how the scam appears to work:

1. A scammer, who has stolen an author’s identity, submits a fake book to CreateSpace under that author’s name. The scammer apparently also gives Amazon the author’s address and social security number.

2. The book is full of gibberish, and has a ridiculously high list price (in the hundreds of dollars or more).

3. The scammer gives Amazon their own payment information, however, so that “royalties” can be paid to the scammer’s bank account instead of the author’s.

4. The scammer then uses stolen credit card numbers to purchase copies of the fake book.

5. The scammer receives royalties from Amazon.

6. Amazon sends the author (the victim) and the I.R.S. a 1099 even though the author received no money from Amazon / CreateSpace.

NOTE: One comment under the article, posted by “Andre,” speculated – “It is the best way to launder bitcoin revenue generated from all kinds of illegal activities. They go to Giftly or Gyft and buy Amazon gift cards for the bitcoin. Then they just pay themselves. That is the only way to not get your account closed. It is not credit card fraud!!! Gift cards are always under the radar on Amazon.”

If people are buying Amazon gift cards to use for fraud, what incentive would Amazon / CreateSpace have to stop the illegal activities? Seems like none to me…unless the feds come crashing down on them.

The victim quoted in the article says Amazon refused to divulge any details to him, and refused to void his 1099. So, he now has to deal with the I.R.S. to try to prove that Amazon / CreateSpace didn’t send him any money.

While I find this entire scenario appalling, the fact that they obviously aren’t checking the books they publish for quality is incredibly irresponsible, and harmful to their book buying customers, as well as to authors.

CreateSpace recently stopped offering editing, formatting, and other services to authors. They only provide printing now. I guess this might be another excuse for them to not check books they’re printing for quality, fraud, and more.

Furthermore, according to posts on the CreateSpace author forum, authors are not permitted to put “Published by CreateSpace” in their books. When I first heard that, I thought, ‘Well, sure, why would they allow that? They publish so much garbage and they probably don’t want their name attached to those horrible products. If there are complaints, they probably want those complaints to go to the author, not to CreateSpace itself.’

Of course, books published by CreateSpace have the CreateSpace name listed on Amazon so it’s difficult for their authors to hide that fact.

In all the research I’ve done during and since our lawsuit against Amazon and its print on demand division, which is now named CreateSpace, I can’t say anything they do surprises me anymore. In my opinion, they are not good corporate citizens, and I doubt they ever will be.

I don’t know if the screenshot below is from a “fake” book or not but, again, in my opinion, it’s certainly an example of a substandard CreateSpace book.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here’s why we think it’s a crappy book:

1. Misspelled word in the title: Filmaker (should be Filmmaker)

2. No punctuation whatsoever in the 66-word, single-sentence “About the Author” paragraph on the back cover. No commas. No periods. No apostrophes. Nothing.

3. The book is priced at a whopping $2589.83!

4. The “look inside” function on Amazon shows that the first 5 pages of this 24-page “book” are one long, run-on sentence in a humongous font. I’ll share 3 pages of the excerpt with you here:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here’s another one – a bargain at only $277.02!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On the CreateSpace website, they feature this book’s title…but another book’s cover altogether.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And, here’s another CreateSpace book with the wrong cover featured. Notice the price. $2796.00!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Remember, authors, your publisher’s reputation can affect your book sales. A librarian we know, who does purchasing for his town’s libraries, told us he never orders CreateSpace books because so many of them are so bad. In the article, Top 10 Mistakes New Authors Make When Contacting Libraries, it states:

10. “Your publisher’s name and reputation can hurt your sales.”
This librarian in particular won’t order CreateSpace Books because the ones he’s seen are so poorly written and edited. If he sees the name CreateSpace, he automatically rejects the book. Librarians know about the poor quality of some of the books put out by some P.O.D. publishers, as well as those from other “we’ll-publish-anything-if-you-just-give-us-enough-money!” publishing services. If a librarian has received too many poor-quality books from one publisher, they will, naturally, stop considering that publisher’s books in the future.

Please share your thoughts about this controversial topic below!

RELATED

CreateSpace Complaints Part IV

MORE CREATESPACE COMPLAINTS (Part III)

CREATESPACE COMPLAINTS – Part II

CreateSpace Complaints

“CreateSpace has put us in a very bad light with our customers! I’m at my wit’s end! Can BookLocker get my book published right away?” YEP!

Pedophile Guide Book Published by Amazon – Do They Draw the Line ANYWHERE?

“What legal recourse can I take against CreateSpace for over-payment and unacceptable book quality?”

Employees (Allegedly) Reveal Behind-the-Scenes Info. about CreateSpace, Xlibris, Author Solutions, Infinity Publishing, Lulu, and Outskirts Press

UH OH – PART II! What are Employees of CreateSpace and Lulu Saying About Those Companies?



Got questions about Print On Demand and Self-publishing? Ask Angela Hoy.



About The Author

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Angela Hoy is the publisher of WritersWeekly.com, the author of 19 books, and the co-owner of BookLocker.com (one of the original POD publishers that still gets books to market in less than a month), PubPreppers.com (print and ebook design for authors who truly want to self-publish), and Abuzz Press (the publishing co-op that charges no setup fees).

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3 Responses to "Are Money Launderers Using CreateSpace to Victimize Authors? And, is CreateSpace to Blame for Not Vetting Books?"

  1. andy  February 26, 2018 at 7:16 pm

    When I was looking for a self-publisher I visited Charleston, S.C. and called the Create Space office there to check it out. Bad experience. The receptionist, although, pleasant enough, told me the site was off-limits. I asked her why. Her response? “Company policy; privileged information could be compromised.”
    Thanks but no thanks, Create Space.
    andy burtis

    Reply
  2. pamelaallegretto  February 24, 2018 at 1:01 pm

    I like to read indie authors. I have discovered so many wonderful self-published works. But I must say that many of the CreateSpace books, although meriting worthy literary content, are somewhat spoiled by the distraction of sloppy interior formatting.

    Reply
  3. Michael W. Perry  February 23, 2018 at 11:26 am

    Angela, your lawsuit against Amazon illustrates something deeply embedded in the company’s corporate culture. There’s no integrity, no internal check on right and wrong. What Amazon can get away with, it will do. That’s actually a trait of several of the rich, high-tech companies. Several of them are battling the European Union over their ‘double-dutch’ schemes to evade billions in taxes.

    Only bad press, a lawsuit, or (eventually) government intervention motivates them. And why should Amazon feel otherwise? In most cases they get away with their crimes. Look at how long Amazon got away with not paying sales taxes even though they had a business presence in various states.

    This is CreateSpace scam is hardly Amazon’s only problem. The company plays games with its search results, so much so that, when I lived in Seattle, one of its software developers told me “Never trust Amazon’s search results.” Even a search for a book by its title might not turn it up at the author or publisher’s source if someone else is selling it at an inflated price. And just a few months ago, I needed an accessory for a popular kitchen device. The company sold it for $30, which I considered too much. But despite the fact that I was describing the accessory in unmistakably precise terms, I took me a half-hour of trying this and trying that to discover a third-party selling an identical replacement of $10 less. If Amazon can get away with selling the pricey version and hiding one less expensive it will. I had a lawyer justify just that policy to me. And that Amazon software developer told me that, if I really wanted to find the best price for something on Amazon, I should use Google or DuckDuckGo.

    I have a suggestion for someone with tech skills (or a friend who does) who is looking for a job they can run from their kitchen table while the kids nap. Most authors don’t want to spend time checking for various scams, including this CreateSpace one, as well as the Internet Archive posting copyrighted books without permission. Many authors and publishers might pay someone to monitor online for efforts to rip them off, particularly if that was coupled to advice about how to fix those problems, i.e. a contact at CreateSpace.

    Doing that myself takes a lot of time since I’d need to check Amazon’s links to several dozen titles manually. But someone a little tech savvy could find a way to automate that, so they could check hundreds of titles an hour at Amazon and elsewhere. That’d provide a ready source of income no matter where they live. And they’d be a friend of authors and small publishers.

    –Michael W. Perry, Inkling Books

    Reply

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