Unwelcome publicity: company victimized by stock spammers

Disproving the adage that 'no publicity is bad publicity', a company today disowned a flood of emails that was apparently crafted to boost its stock price. Pay88 Inc claimed that it was an innocent pawn in an apparent 'pump and dump' scheme' run by unknown spammers.

The unwanted emails began appearing in inboxes on July 14, the company complained in a statement to the media.

“Third-party spammers disseminated an untold number of spam emails promoting the company without the company's knowledge,” Pay88 reported. “The company did not send or authorize any such messages nor did it authorize any of the parties disseminating such information.”

No inside information

In an attempt to puncture the spammers' claims to have inside information, Pay88 stressed that there is currently no important information likely to affect the share price that has not already been disclosed.

Evidence at several investing and spam-tracking websites indicates that spam messages promoting Pay88 have indeed been disseminated during the past five days

Pay88, based in China, is a distributor of prepaid cards for online multiplayer video games and international phone services, as well as other products.

Pump and dump scams

So-called 'pump and dump' spammers sometimes buy large amounts of lightly traded stocks and then send out millions of spam messages inducing others to invest. The emails generally claim that the stock price is about to rise significantly. If enough recipients are fooled into investing, then the share price rises slightly, and the spammers can make profits of tens of thousands of dollars by quickly selling their stake.