"I hope this is your email" Scam Offers No Hope of Profits
Washington, D.C. — NASD is warning investors about the latest twist in an age-old scam: targeting gullible investors through apparently misaddressed personal emails to lure them into fraudulent "pump and dump" schemes.
A new NASD Investor Alert - "I hope this is your email" Scam Offers No Hope of Profits - includes examples of actual emails that fraudsters have used to entice investors. Typically, they are poorly worded and appear to have reached the investor's email inbox in error - as if the sender had mistyped some personal acquaintance's email address.
"Don't be fooled - the email is almost certainly from someone who's being paid to send it to thousands of people, in hopes that some of them will fall for the scam and buy shares of the recommended stock," said NASD Senior Executive Vice President Elisse Walter. "The best way to avoid being taken in is to ignore the email entirely. And a cardinal rule of investing is to never rely solely on information you receive from an unsolicited source - whether it's in the form of an email, a fax, a text message or a phone call."
Pump and dump scams involve the recommendation of a company's stock through false and misleading statements (the pump). Misled investors then buy the stock, creating demand that often causes the stock's price to soar. Then the fraudsters sell off their shares at the artificially inflated price (the dump), usually leaving the investors they duped with worthless, or near worthless, stock.
NASD encourages investors to forward stock spam emails to firstname.lastname@example.org, where they will be reviewed for possible investigation. The Investor Alert cites examples of stock spam emails that NASD has received:
"Hi I hope this is your email. I was pleased to meet you the other day. I expect you was excited about New York. So much so much happening all the time, lot of great opportunities. And speaking of opportunities, the deal I was speaking about yesterday involves a company known as (company name)…"
"It's already heading up, but the big news isn't even out yet, so there's still time. I have got this shares already and made 2000. I propose you do the same. Hope this helps you out. I'll see you this weekend."
NASD's Investor Alert offers detailed advice on how to avoid getting taken in by this email scam, including tips on how to investigate a stock before investing in it.
For additional information on new tech twists to pump and dump scams, see the NASD Investor Alerts Stock Spams and Scams and Beware of "Hot" Stock Tips on Your Cell Phone and the Securities and Exchange Commission Alert "Wrong Numbers" and Stock Tips on Your Answering Machine.
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