Avoiding Stock Spam

Spam can be either annoying, detrimental, or a horrible case of both.  It also comes wearing many different faces, innovative methods developed by experienced, determined spammers to swindle their recipients out of what could be easily thousands of dollars.  This form of intrusion has quickly become criminal based - the fastest rising category of them all is stock spam.

Buy a share of spam

Stock spam is very different from most.  It doesn't promote a specific product, nor does it include links to where it can be purchased.  It does, however, follow the traditional format of typical spam. 

The first part of the email begins by introducing you to a stock ticker with price targets.  The second part contains a sample of the firm's most recent press release.  The goal here is not to persuade you into using the advertised brokerage service.  Very seldom does it attempt to promote the actual spammer in any way.  Like most email scams, its purpose is to convince you to eventually invest money with little to no chance for potential gain. 

Stock spam differs from others by concealing itself within the current market trends, appearing to be an approach from a legitimate brokerage.  It will offer you grand opportunities to gain a large amount of money by making a small investment, often using tempting penny-stocks as the bait.  Stock spam has been called a modern version of the classic "pump and dump" scam, implementing various techniques to establish a false demand by its victims and inflating the fees accordingly. 

The Fall of Stock Spam 

It has been speculated that the spamming nature of stock scams will inevitably become a thing of the past.  Newly released anti-spam solutions have employed methods of limiting stock spam and other malicious content on targeted portals, such as blogs and forums.  These programs are significant improvements over the previous filters.  While those in the market strengthen their filtering systems, it is believed that some of these scam artist just may conclude that using spam isn't as cost-effective as before and seek others avenues for exploitation. 

There are a few signs that these scammers are currently looking to ditch the "spam" suffix, as other criminal markets are becoming more known and available.  One malicious strategy was used by a team of hackers who compromised several customer accounts managed by a prominent online brokerage.  Instead of spamming a target and waiting for them to take the bait, these hackers penetrated the system and did as they pleased with numerous stocks - the mere thought is terrifying. 

The longevity of stock spam will ultimately depend on the advancement of filtering systems and the players on both sides of the field: the scammers and victims.  Staggering financial loss has awakened several of the ambitious, while alerting many newcomers.  The trend of stock spam itself may also prompt a crash of the scam.  As more imitators implement the scheme, their methods will become predictable, while reducing the amount of low-volume stocks that made spamming a viable option.  Let's hope the predictions are right. 

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Spyware has many ways of getting onto your computer, such as:

When you download programs - particularly freeware, or peer-to-peer sharing programs.

More covertly, spyware can install itself just by you visiting certain sites, by prompting you to download an application to see the site properly.

ActiveX controls. These pesky spyware makers will prompt you to install themselves while using your Internet browser