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Scam alert! Have you been ripped off?

Talk about a bibliophile's nightmare. A Pennsylvania man pleaded guilty this week to forging signed copies of books by Tom Clancy, and other famous authors and selling them on eBay.

Forrest Smith III, of Reading, victimized more than 1,000 bibliophiles and netted more than $300,000 between 2002 and December, Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark Dubnoff said in a story in the Philadelphia Daily News.

Smith, 47, bought unsigned first editions of books on eBay and had stamps made to replicate the authors' signatures. He would then stamp books with the "signatures" of Truman Capote, Kurt Vonnegut, Michael Crichton, Norman Mailer, Anne Rice, John Irving, Tom Wolfe and others. Smith used an account created in his wife's name - bev103162smith - to sell the forged books, Dubnoff said according to the Daily News.

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Prosecutors said there were more than 400 victims since December 2006; Dubnoff said the number may have topped 1,000 since 2002. I hope Read Street collectors avoided the scam.

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