Pump-n-Dump is BACK

by Fred Showker

... you're about to get ripped off

DO NOT CLICK Stock Scams and Pump-n-Dump schemesIf you've been with me and 60-seconds since January of 2006, you'll remember my series of articles both here and at the UGNN.com site regarding "pump and dump" stock market scams. You can read that original article, #176 Pump & Dump where I point out the definition of pump and dumps, and provide resources for your own protection and reporting. There was also a follow-up article the following month. After that, and the following weeks, with reports to the (SEC), there was a huge crack-down, and many stocks who were being pumped were pulled off the market or suspended. I'm sure if you search, you can find all the press surrounding that episode. Well, five years later, they seem to be back. On Tuesday, our spam traps were deluged with an all new barrage of pump-n-dump stock schemes -- this time, driven by botnets, rogue registrars and utilizing gaps and holes in ICANN's policies. They've learned how to allude even SpamCop.

SpamCop held mail for Feb. 23, 2011, with 45 pump-n-dump spams in 8 hours
Click the image to see more of the list!

Above you can see just a few lines from this morning's SpamCop "Held" box. For the past 24 hours, we've received an average of one of these every 11 minutes. They all were simple "RE: MYBL" subject lines, until this morning when they began to get a little more creative.

Here is how the full spam appeared in SpamCop.

In today's world, this could be a REAL pump-n-dump, or could be what is commonly called a "Joe-Job" -- a spamming technique that sends out unsolicited e-mails using spoofed sender data in order to get a cybercrime competitor in trouble, or blocked in the black holes. (More) We do not know, and frankly do not care. I only wish to warn any readers who may fall prey to this scheme. Back in '06 I tracked hundreds of these. This time, so far, I've only tracked six, and am finding that unlike the '06 episode, the crooks are incorporating legitimate web sites into the frey. However, a new trend gives me the heeby-jeebies ...

Market Watch spamcop report

One of the sites named in the spam, guilty or not, is refusing reports. And, from this SpamCop report, they have 'appealed' reports in the past. The ISP's contacts email bounces. The Telerate.com ISP appears to be using routers and NS servers owned by Reuters.com. Not a good sign. But never mind that -- they may just be inundated with spam reports and can't take it any longer. The really bad news is ...

The RIPE NCC is one of five Regional Internet Registries (RIRs) providing Internet resource allocations, registration services and coordination activities that support the operation of the Internet globally. In other words, they're right at the TOP of the internet heap. As you can see, this is a RIPE hub being utilized by the cybercrime pump-n-dumpers not tracked by RIPE. We do not know if it's a hack, or if RIPE is a willing player. However, we do know that by ICANN regulations, that domain is supposed to have a VALID WHOIS RECORD. So, SpamCop should be able to instantaneously pull those records and find the authority in charge. Not so. RIPE is (knowingly or unknowingly) assisting the pump-n-dumpers to elude detection. This is not good. It gives cybercrime free hand in perpetuating their evil agenda.

DO NOT CLICK - KEEP YOUR IDENTITY SAFE I'm not going to repeat the saga as I did in '06, running 13-weeks of reports on which stocks to avoid in the pump-n-dump realm. Let me just say -- DO NOT CLICK ANY STOCK TIP you receive in the mail. As we saw above, there's a possibility that even your TRUSTED stock web site may be a (knowing or unknowning) accompanist. So, repeat after me : DO NOT CLICK.

'Nuff said ... thanks for reading

Fred Showker

Don't forget ... we encourage you to share your discoveries with other readers. Just send and email, contribute your own article, join the Design Cafe forums, or follow DTG on Facebook!

Just 17 hours ago, this article was posted in the San Francisco Chronicle (www.sfgate.com) listing the "Pump and Dump" as on of the The 5 Worst Investments For 2011 (And Beyond) ... and number three is :

quoting 3. Stock Advice by Email
      "Great news! I just found out that on Friday, XYZ Labs is announcing a major breakthrough in a drug that treats cancer. You need to buy as many shares as possible, and they're only 50 cents per share."
      If you've ever received an e-mail like this, you know about the pump and dump. The information in the e-mail is completely false, and if it were true it would be considered insider trading. You would be fined and possibly sent to jail if you profited from this information.
      The pump and dump scheme is simple: Somebody sends this e-mail to a large amount of people. They "pump" up a stock that they own shares in by saying that it is going to see a big gain in the next few days. If enough people buy into the stock because of the email, the share price will surge. The person who sent the e-mail then sells the stock a few days later (the dump) at the elevated price for a profit. You're left with a big loss once is becomes known the news is false. end quote


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