Boosting stock prices via spam


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Survey shows those stock tip emails actually work.

One of the more common uses of spam is to promote a particular stock in an effort to boost the price via these false disclosures.  This trick was especially popular during the Internet stock boom when people were eager to get in on the next big thing.

You might think that the last place people would get stock tips would  be unsolicited emails – but apparently not.

Panda Software has analyzed the effect of these emails and claims that in one case the stock increased by 12% in the days after a spam campaign.  Of course there might have been other factors affecting the stock price but the regular stream of these messages seems to indicate that they have some benefit for someone.

These days these unwanted investment advice arrive as images embedded in an email with a totally unrelated subject line – all this to avoid the text element of spam filters.

If your spam filter doesn’t detect these messages, hit the delete key.

Email Essentials reader, Leslie C says:


Perhaps reporting more of these would stop some of it – the SEC’s website suggests that such spam be reported.

You can go to the Securities Exchange Commission in the US or equivalent’s in other countries to report these messages.  But it might be a waste of time since the agencies probably have their own methods of tracking spam already.  A cynical view might be that offers to accept reports of investment spam is probably aimed at appearing to accept public input more than wanting to investigate every report that comes in.

It is doubtful they would be able to stop the unwanted emails from being sent.  The SEC etc can monitor the effects of investment spam but not stop them at source.

Certainly there’s a place for advising of more narrowly focused messages but the broadly sent spam should be seen by ‘honeypots’ email accounts setup by regulators. We’d hate for our readers to spend time on what is a well-intentioned but probably fruitless task.

All the regulators can do is try to match such spam campaigns with trading records to identify attempts to mislead the market.  That’s hard even if the departments have a lot of resources – and often they don’t.  I’m sure the people trying these scams know the risk of detection, let alone conviction, is low.

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