Saturday, 7 January 2012

Online Investment fraud 2

In the morning of April 7, 1999, users of Internet bulletin boards hosted by Yahoo! Finance and other companies devoted to the discussion of a company named PairGain saw a message from an individual identifying herself as Stacey Lawson of Knoxville Tennessee. The message reported that PairGain, a telecommunications Equipment Company located in California, would be purchased for 1.35 billion dollars by an Israeli company. The message contained a link to what it stated was the Bloomberg News story reporting the impending merger. Other messages, purportedly from other individuals, also discussed the news in excited terms advocating that readers purchase the stock immediately. When users clicked on the link in the first message they were taken to what appeared to be a legitimate Bloomberg News web page containing a detailed story on the merger. Although the page looked exactly like a real Bloomberg page, even to the point of including other links that took the reader back to the real Bloomberg service, it was, in fact, bogus and the story of the merger was false. Because the message was reported early east coast time, no one could reach PairGain for comment because of the time difference. No one could reach the Israeli company because it was an Israeli holiday. In just two hours, the false news triggered a buying spree -- PairGain stock rose over 31% on NASDAQ with ten times its normal volume. When the hoax was exposed the stock fell causing thousands of victims to lose substantial amounts of money.

The cyber investigation focused on messages posted to Yahoo! and on the bogus Bloomberg web page. The Yahoo! messages were unrevealing, containing screen names such as Stacey LTN that were clearly false. Examination of the bogus web page revealed it was hosted on an Internet web hosting service named Angelfire. Angelfire is a free service that allows users to create their own web pages asking only that they provide subscriber information and an email account so that a password can be emailed to the user.
Comments:The Internet serves as an excellent tool for investors, allowing them to easily and inexpensively research investment opportunities. But the Internet is also an excellent tool for fraudsters.The same scams that have been conducted by mail and phone can now be found on the World Wide Web and in email, and new cyber scams are emerging. It's sometimes hard to tell the difference between reputable online sellers and criminals who use the Internet to rob people. In order to protect ourselves ,we should learn how to recognize the cyber scams.

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