Saturday, 14 January 2012
Recent Stock Scams
What are stock scams?
Over the past few years there have been many stock scams taking place that cheated investors out of millions of dollars. Some companies have put millions of dollars on the books as revenue that was really fictitious. Other companies like Enron used misleading accounting tactics to trick their investors into thinking that their company was worth much more than it really was. As a result, it turned a stock worth more than $100 per share to one worth mere pennies. These large-scale scams fooled even the most seasoned investors and policing agencies, so there's not too much you can do to personally investigate the companies. However, there are other smaller-scale scams that you can catch and be way of.
Generally, a penny stock is a stock that is trading for less than $1 per share and is trading over the counter, as opposed to one of the major exchanges like the NASDAQ. The price does not matter as much as the facts that the companies are generally very small and highly volatile. Within a space of a few hours, a stock costing $1 can easily turn in a one cent stock or a ten dollar one. Because the volume of trades for the stocks are so low, even a few people selling all their shares or buying a large number shares can dramatically affect the stock price. The following picture depicts a penny stock certificate, and a description of a common scam is below it.
Picture from Wikipedia, May 2006
Pump and Dump
In a pump and dump scam, somebody will release either great news for the company or terrible news. As investors rush to buy or sell stock, the person is strategically placed to reap great financial benefit. For example, a person who owns 10,000 shares of a stock worth $1 could mass email a fake news story about the company's earnings and get the price to $10, at which point he or she could sell. The best way to avoid this scam is to avoid penny stocks altogether. Although you could possibly make money, most of the time investors lose out.