Spam And The Criminal Underworld

There’s more to unsolicited bulk email than male-enhancement drugs and cure-alls (which are likely bogus, anyway). Wall Street Journal columnist Jeremy Wagstaff warns against a new trend these days of financial manipulation using spam. And we’re not talking about phishing for your credit card information. This is stock market manipulation.

The perpetrators are pumping and dumping, meaning they buy up–or already own–speculative stock cheap, and then email people in the guise of financial advisors, highly recommending a “buy” (the companies are likely dummy ones or bogus, too). Then when the price is high enough, they dump their stock for a profit, leaving those who bought at a loss when the price plummets.

If you open the email in question (and I’ve counted nearly 300 in my spam dumps in the past three days alone) you’ll find it’s a pretty straightforward pump and dump scam, where the sender tries to raise buying interest in the stock (the pumping bit) to push up the price so he can make a killing selling his stock (the dumping bit.)

There’s more. It’s not just stock market scamming, but there’s fraud and even murder these days.

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