21 September 2006

Honest Scam Spam

I receive my (un)fair share of spam - lately it's mostly been the pump-and-dump stock scam spam. You know the type: such and so great sounding company is about to explode on the (over the counter) stock market. Buy now and get in on the ground floor. Naturally, the promoters have tons of the otherwise worthless stock and cash in when the price rises, completely collapsing the market and fleecing the greedy and gullible.

I usually just delete such messages (which have subject lines completely unrelated to the scam) from the server. But today, I saw one that was intriguing, not because of the investment opportunity, but rather for its frankness. The subject line read, "We can grow any stock up to 300%." And, towards the end of the email about some obscure biotech company with the latest in something or other medical, this clear disclaimer:
You can lose all your money by investing in this stock. In compliance with the Securities act of 1933, Section 17(b), the publisher of this newsletter discloses they received payment from an unaffiliated third party for the circulation of this report in the amount of twenty thousand dollars. Be aware of an inherent conflict of interest resulting from such compensation due to the fact that this is a paid advertisement and is not without bias. As we have received compensation in the form of free trading securities, we may directly benefit from any increase in the price of these securities. (emphasis added)
That about says it all, doesn't it? At least they're honest about their unethicality.

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Joey Coleman said...

Saw your soundbite on CH News this evening. I was surprised. The report was on YouTube and how it is the "in" thing. CH made it sound it like was this brand new thing, of course for them it probably is. Anyway, I was surprised that they had you on. It shows they put some work into the story. That being that they found someone with knowledge of the internet and its effects on communication.

Mark Federman said...

Thanks, Joey. I do interviews for all the major networks and newspapers (and a bunch of minor ones, too). U of T Public Affairs has me on their list of so-called experts - I typically get the call when reporters ask for someone who can give a perspective that is somewhat different ("deeper," apparently) than the common or popular immediate reaction.

What's interesting about these things is that the soundbite - typically 30 seconds or so - is extracted from a conversation that, on average, runs about 15 minutes. My only hope is that what makes it to air casts me as more or less intelligent - you can do an awful lot in an editing suite, as Stephen Colbert knows only too well!