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by Mike Masnick




Stock Spammers Now Attaching Bogus Prospectus PDF

from the pushing-the-limits dept

Stock spammers keep pushing the boundaries to get around both spam filters and people's resistance to their pitches. For a while they were focused on using image spam to get through text filters, but now it appears that some are trying to get around filters (both technical and human) by looking a bit more legit. A group of German pump-and-dump spammers are apparently attaching a bogus stock prospectus on the stocks they're pumping (and dumping). The attachment is a PDF file, so it gets around most spam filters, and the document is designed to look like a normal stock report (to get around human skepticism filters). It makes you wonder, if these stock spammers are going to go through so much trouble, why not just become actual stock analysts? Sometimes, it's tough to tell the difference.

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  • identicon
    Bob, 25 Jun 2007 @ 7:07am

    Halt trading

    I think it's about time the SEC halts trading on any stock, below a certain value, when it's found in a pump-n-dump spam. Then, when people go to buy because they are morons and fall for the spam their broker (or web trader) will inform them trading has been temporarily halted because of email fraudulently recommending it.

    At the very least they should implement a pump-n-dump warning that MUST (required by law, punishable by large fines) be given to prospective buyers of the stock. "ALERT! This stock is currently being touted through illegitimate email recommendations. If you are purchasing this stock based on email stock recommendations that you have recieved then you are not only a MORON but soon to be a victim of securities fraud."

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 25 Jun 2007 @ 8:56am

    Really?

    Do people really base stock buying and selling on spam e-mails? I would think that in this day and age that enough would be known about this that people would just ignore them. I don't get it.

    Oh wait, gotta go, just got an e-mail on something that will make my penis 4 inches longer.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    ReallyEvilCanine, 25 Jun 2007 @ 8:59am

    Simple

    if these stock spammers are going to go through so much trouble, why not just become actual stock analysts?

    Because it's a hell of a lot easier to make a garbage stock look good than it is to actually find a diamond in the rough.

    Bob, any law like that immediately opens the door to underhanded practices by the competition and unfairly shifts the burden of proof to the company being used rather than leaving it on the spammers who target some company for the scheme.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 25 Jun 2007 @ 1:47pm

      Re: Simple

      Because it's a hell of a lot easier to make a garbage stock look good than it is to actually find a diamond in the rough.
      A trained monkey could do as well as most so-called "stock analysts".

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Chuck Norris' Enemy (deceased), 25 Jun 2007 @ 9:30am

    Make it more real!

    I always thought any of these scammers (pump-and-dump, Nigerian, etc.) would do much better if they made things look more realistic. How hard could that be really? A simple spell checker. Or a good graphics program. (They could find an illegal copy on the internet I'm sure) I can't believe idiots fall for that crap! Usually the paragraph long at the end of the email with random words tips me off that this is not real! Those who fall for it, deserve it!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      GoblinJuice, 25 Jun 2007 @ 12:45pm

      Re: Make it more real!

      Wild ass guessing here, so be careful. ;)

      I think the thinking is: "well, I'm not dumb enough to believe this a good stock, but a lot of other people will... which will drive the price up... and I'll get out then!"

      It's funny, actually. The pumper is relying on the target's stupidity and most of the people that actually buy the stock are relying on other target's stupidity. =)

      Like I said, this is a wild ass guess. I could be 110% wrong.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Brent, 25 Jun 2007 @ 11:35am

    If it looks too good to be true...

    ...then it usually is. Stock recommendations that are unsolicited should be treated with a great deal of scepticism. Why would you sink hundreds (or thousands) of dollars into a stock you never heard of until now from someone you've never had any dealings? Are people so gullible and greedy that this first "get rich quick" scheme that falls in their lap, they must buy into it? I feel those who do jump on these not-so-legit stock tips / recommendations get what they deserve. Due diligence anyone?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Josh, 25 Jun 2007 @ 12:18pm

    Don't be shocked

    This reminds me of an old story I read a few years back.

    http://archives.cnn.com/2000/LAW/law.and.business/09/21/teen.trader/

    If a teenager can earn a "quarter-million dollars in less than six months". Then there are plenty of morons out there to buy into this crap.

    From an IT professionals view point I have seen all kinds of people do all kinds of REALLY dumb things; which includes an obsessive-compulsive employee who literally had to open every attachment sent to their inbox even if it said “This is a virus please do not execute”.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    DML, 25 Jun 2007 @ 1:23pm

    Fun Game: Differentiating between company exec an

    I'd bet most couldn't tell the difference outside of the fact that one "officially" works for the company. I mean, really, what was Jeff Skilling? He was a stock spammer! He was merely on Enron's payroll to spam Enron stocks. That's the *job* of the CEO of a publically traded company.

    However, instead of using the Internet, these guys use publications like Forbes and Business Week. I see virtually no difference between many CEOs of publically traded companies and stock spammers other than one is officially on the company payroll and has inside knowledge (that they probably won't share with you).

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    David Spark, 25 Jun 2007 @ 4:59pm

    The readers of Techdirt aren't the target for stoc

    You all should realize that you're not the target of stock scams. You're all very techno-savvy to know not to fall for this kind of stuff. You can spot spam, advertising, and many other non-legit pieces of content on the Internet. But as someone who has actually conducted focus groups with online users that don't fall into the alpha geek category, you wouldn't believe what normal intelligent people will click on. Image stock scams work. If they didn't, they wouldn't continue. But they do. What I find so amusing is the confusing statistics about the rise and fall of image spam. Take a look at this quick summary I put together.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Matthew, 25 Jun 2007 @ 8:18pm

    Firing squad for these scammers.

    Prison is too mild for these scammers. No matter how many of these morons you imprison, the market is just too lucrative, there are simply too many dummkpofs on the net just waiting to be bilked. These gangsters should get a taste of their own style - line them all up and let a firing squad at them.

    I'm sure the US Govt can arrange for something like this quite easily, in one of their "out of law's reach" concentration camps in Afghanistan or Guantanamo. Now all we need is to get these scammers labeled 'enemy combatants'

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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