02/02/2005 at 08:00 AM EST
J.K. Rowling is alerting fans about Internet hucksters who claim to be selling electronic copies of her latest Harry Potter saga – when, in fact, they are trying to steal credit card numbers and bank information.
In this current "phishing" scam, eager readers were being asked to divulge their info for a supposed copy of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, which is to be published on July 16, reports Reuters.
"Please, please protect yourselves, your computers and your credit cards and do not fall for these scams," the writer warned after her legal team closed down a fraudulent Web site supposedly offering e-book copies of the upcoming tale.
Despite her lawyers' success, Rowling fears that the thieves will resurface. Police suspect organized crime gangs from Eastern Europe, says the news service.
"I would bet the original manuscript of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince itself that this will not be the last attempt to con HP fans before publication of the book," reads a message on her official site – which also warns that fake, downloadable copies are likely filled with computer viruses.
Rowling's copyright lawyer Neil Blair says the Scotland-based author, 38, has never granted licenses for electronic versions of any of her books.
"The only genuine copies of Harry Potter remain the authorized traditional book or audio tapes/cassettes/CDs distributed through my publishers," Rowling adds.