Washington State

Office of the Attorney General

Attorney General

Bob Ferguson

Spammers reportedly unleashed one of the biggest online stock manipulation campaigns in history this week, increasing global spam levels by 30 percent. News reports say experts have detected about 500 million e-mails that advise investing in a business that operates convenience stores in the U.S. and wireless product shops in the Caribbean. It’s a major example of “pump and dump” scheme. Spammers buy shares, promote the company with a massive e-mail blast then wait for the share price to rise. After the fraudsters sell their shares and stop hyping the stock, the price falls and investors lose their money. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission estimated that 100 million pump-and-dump spam messages are sent every week, triggering spikes then drops in share prices and trading volume.

The tech company that reported the spam posted images of the spam on its blog, and noted that a rise in spam containing PDF files may be attributed to a botnet. Internet spammers recently launched a widespread attack on e-mail inboxes, concealing a computer virus in a link to an online greeting card. Protect your computer by using a firewall and anti-virus software. Turn off your computer when you're done.

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