The Mail Bag: April 2006 Archives

Question? What is the McCain Amendment as it relates to CAN-SPAM?
Level: Advanced

This is a tough one so I tracked down a real expert- Anne Mitchell, Esq., CEO of the Institute for Spam and Internet Public Policy, and a Professor of Law in California for the answer.

This interview is an attempt to try to clarify the news I reported here earlier coming out of report on the lawsuit that went all the way up and down the chain.

It wasn't easy catching her as she was busy preparing for a workshop, but I think we have some solid answers for readers. (And thanks Anne for taking the time!) So to recap we're talking about the recent announcement by the Federal Trade Commission and California Attorney General Bill Lockyer that they have settled a lawsuit in which they went after a spammer both for the spam they sent, and for the spam which their affiliates sent. Let's dive in!

Did you know we had a Mail Bag? We do! Our team, including two MSFT Security MVPs, select good questions from the Mail Bag and give it our best shot.

Question: I receive lots of hot stock tips in my email. Are these legitimate stocks? Should I invest?

Disclaimer: We don't give investment advice...but what you are referring to is commonly called a Pump & Dump stock scam.

Like many people you probably get alot of spam- even with the better filters we have today. Have you ever noticed how many spams are touting a particular stock? Usually this is a slimly traded stock on a small exchange for only pennies a share. In a recent Honeypot studied it was found that 3% of all the spam collected were actually pump & dump scams! Still at pennies a share it seems so easy to make money! Not so.

New research was released recently about these "pump and dump" schemes. The way it works is the stock owners or holders send out massive amounts of spam touting their stock, somtimes resorting to pumping them on up on stock related message boards with false or misleading claims.

What was really interesting in this study is the researchers found that the more spam sent actually sent the stock of the price higher- naturally the scamsters unload the stock as it peaks and the regular investors are left holding the bag.

Answer: If you get e-mails like these simply hit delete. They are more than likely scammers tricks stacked against you in order to part you from your hard earned money. The only ones profiting from these "spam e-mail tips" are the senders themselves- in this case spammers.

For more on Pump & Dump Stock Scams read this illuminating article.

If you still aren't sure check out this savvy fellow who charted a variety of spam touted stocks and see for yourself just how "good" the returns where: We suspect that some of these fraudsters might using botnets as spam relays so they can send out literally millions of these types of thinly traded, dubious equities.

Imagine that- a whole legion of zombie machines working OTC stocks. Again- hit delete and don't fall for it.

About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the The Mail Bag category from April 2006.

The Mail Bag: June 2006 is the next archive.

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