Friday, March 09, 2007

'Bout Time

I'm sure everyone has gotten the stock scam spams. If not, send me a message, I want to know who you use for your e-mail! Thankfully, with Gmail, I only see them in my inbox on very rare occasions.

However, their concept is simple enough. Get enough suckers/greedy people to bite, and the stock price will move. Since the target is almost always a penny stock to begin with, it doesn't take a large change to make some significant profit, if timed properly. Which is probably one of the reasons people still bite on these. They know it's a scam, they know it's going to spike up, then plummet back down, they are just trying to beat the rush, and manage to make some profit off it themselves.

So, I often found myself wondering why the SEC permitted this obvious stock manipulation to proceed. It's guaranteed that they get much of the same spam we do, so it isn't like they don't know about it. I had mentally chalked it up to lack of resources, and the slow process that is an investigation in this country. By the time they got anything actually underway, the scam they were investigating would be old news, and there would be 100 more waiting in the queue.

However, they have begun to take action. On Thursday, they suspended, for 2 weeks, the trading of 35 stocks being targeted in various spam messages. This move appears to be intended as much for the purpose of preventing investors from being scammed, as for providing time to get investigations underway.

The article over at Slashdot, brings up the potential for using this behavior to prevent your competitor's stock from being traded, which is a possibility worth considering. However, for now, I'm just glad to see something being done about it. Wonder what type of spam will arise to take the place of the stock pump 'n dump?