Getting your book published can seem frustrating and confusing—especially when the possibility of getting taken advantage of is thrown into the mix.

One scam I have heard of recently involves the perpetrator claiming to be a representative of a reputable company and offering services to aspiring authors similar to those offered by that company. They may obtain a target’s contact information off their book (if the author is published) or reach out to them on social media (if the author is a member of a publishing-related Group or self-identifies as an aspiring author in some other way). They contact their target, offer the services, and ask to be paid directly or via PayPal or some other payment service. When payment is received, the perpetrator normally will ignore all communication and hope that the victim does not figure out that they have been scammed for a few months so that the period during which the payment service will accept disputes will expire.

To avoid getting scammed, make sure you know who you communicating with–for example, emails regarding Author Gateway offers will always be sent from an email address that ends in @authorgateway.com. Any time you are making a major expenditure of $1,000 or more, then insist on receiving an agreement in writing signed by an executive at the company specifying what is required of them. Obtaining an agreement, reviewing it carefully, and insisting that it specifies exactly what you are expecting will also help make sure you are paying for services by experienced professionals that are likely to help you accomplish your goals rather than just paying for quick work by inexperienced workers which probably will not accomplish anything other than depleting your bank account.

I also recommend that you follow the guidance provided by the Federal Trade Commission at https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0060-10-things-you-can-do-avoid-fraud

If you believe you have been scammed then immediately contact your credit card company and the payment service to dispute the charge and ask for a refund. Then get additional assistance by following the guidance provided by Consumer Reports athttps://www.consumerreports.org/scams-fraud/scam-or-fraud-victim-what-to-do/

I hope and pray that you are never targeted by scammers, but if you are then I hope and pray you take the necessary actions to protect yourself and help others avoid similar scams.