Pump and Dump is still a thing.

Here’s an email I got today, one of several on the same subject.

To: info
From: Dominique Thornton <Thornton91403@bphobbies.com>

Subject: FDA approval is about to send this stock up fifty fold

Why is Quest Management (Symbol: QSMG) guaranteed to jump 5,000% this month?

They have a cure for cancer.
This biotech is run by some of the most prolific scientists in America. Together, they have more than 400 years of experience in the field and have more diplomas than we can even imagine.
Cancer kills 1 out of 4 people in our country and we have all been affected by it either directly or indirectly.
Who doesn’t know someone who’s died from it?
The company’s scientists are targeting cancer using stem cells. They are able to identify the bad cells and destroy them without radiating the entire body (like is common with chemo).
Apart from saving millions of lives, their treatment will surely become the No1 selling drug on earth.
The company has already made serious headway thanks to nearly two decades of research.
This cutting edge biotech company has completed animal trials successfully and just wrapped up FDA-approved human trials last week.
The next step is the public announcement of those results, which we hear through the grapevine have beat all expectations and will change the world of medicine forever.
The results will be announced this month, and once they are out the stock will jump to $25 a share overnight and will continue up to $50 or more quickly after.
“Quest”‘s biotech arm could have a cancer cure that can be totally effective in killing tumors in more than 40% of patients worldwide available in hospitals throughout the globe by the end of the year.
Once that happens, we’re talking about a $1000 a share stock.
We’re literally coming in at the last mile, out of no where, and grabbing profits from their last 2 decades of hard work.

Consider buying QSMG right now while it’s still at under 5 dollars and make sure to tell all your friends to do the same before the price explodes.

If you’re not familiar with Pump-and-Dump schemes that have been around for centuries, here’s what Wikipedia has to say:

Pump and dump” (P&D) is a form of microcap stock fraud that involves artificially inflating the price of an owned stock through false and misleading positive statements, in order to sell the cheaply purchased stock at a higher price. Once the operators of the scheme “dump” sell their overvalued shares, the price falls and investors lose their money. Stocks that are the subject of pump and dump schemes are sometimes called “chop stocks”.

While fraudsters in the past relied on cold calls, the Internet now offers a cheaper and easier way of reaching large numbers of potential investors.

Here’s a chart of Quest Management’s stock over the last 5 days:

 

quest

You can see that on April 17th, the stock was at around $2.50 per share. The next day it had plummeted to around 70¢. It’s possible that the pump and dump had already taken place, and these emails of today were a smokescreen – or an attempt to make another hit.

Penny stocks are, by definition, a very poor place to try to make money – and there are a lot of ruthless and unscrupulous people out there willing to take you for every dime you’re foolish enough to give them.

Be careful out there. Unsolicited email (spam) regarding investment opportunities is worth about as much as the electrons they’re printed on.

The Old Wolf has spoken.

If it sounds too good to be true, it is. Even on Amazon.

In today’s electronic age, where a scammer in Nigeria can take advantage of a little old lady in Broken Clavicle, Wyoming, it’s important to be very careful checking out your sources before you send money to anyone for an online purchase.

I’m in the market for a riding mower, and I was checking out what Amazon had to offer.

Screenshot_2017-04-21-10-28-40-1

 

I found this one that looked interesting, and noticed that there was a used one for sale at a ridiculously low price: $499.00, with free shipping.

Before I did anything, I checked around to see if it’s possible for scammers to set themselves up as sellers on Amazon… Most of the Articles indicated that Amazon has a rather strict vetting process and money back protection.

Edit: After doing some more research, it turns out that Amazon shuts down fake or scam accounts, but only after being notified – and that this is a huge problem, with phony sellers popping up by the hundreds each day.

I did notice that the seller’s storefront indicated that it had just been created, which is always a red flag, but I thought it would be worth at least sending an email to the seller to ask a question. The listing said, “Contact me before you buy!” and provided a contact email, JHONSONY86@gmail.com, so I sent off this inquiry:

How can you sell this item for so little with free shipping? What condition is it in? I know it says “like new” but still…

Here is the response I received:

Hello there,
The product is BRAND NEW, never used, ( US model, not grey market or refurbished).
The product is Sealed in its original box and comes with full Warranty, receipt, all manufacturer supplied accessories.
The total price is $499.00 including all shipping taxes, if you are in US, and for international shipping you have to pay extra 29,99 $ (outside US) .
If you want to buy, send me your phone number, full name, shipping address and I will contact Amazon asap to process your order. Dispatch is by normal UPS Services, which takes 1-3 days depending on where in the US you are.
My return policy is full money back in 30 days.
For more information don’t hesitate to contact me!
Best Regards,
Anthony Johnson

Well, there are so many red flags here that I can’t count them. The way the name was misspelled in the email address, the fact that the email address was in all caps, the bad grammar, and the absolutely ridiculous information in the response – selling a brand new riding mower for 1/4 of the list price, offering free shipping by UPS for a large item like a riding mower, indicating that international shipping would only cost $30 more, all combine to scream “run away fast, this is a scam!”

I wrote the seller back and included a few choice Nigerian insults for him; it was interesting to note today that the offer had been removed from Amazon.

Be ever so careful out there.

The Old Wolf has spoken.

Your Computer Has Been Blocked! (PS – no, it hasn’t)

scam

If you get a screen like this while doing something like trying to log in to Facebook or something else, usually as a result of clicking on a link after a web search, you are being scammed.

Typically your browser locks up – you can’t go back, you can’t navigate to anything else, and you even can’t close the window. Instructions tell you to call Microsoft support because your system is infected with spyware and viruses.

It hasn’t.

If you call the number (877-382-9050), a friendly person (in India, Pakistan, or somewhere else) will answer. THESE ARE NOT MICROSOFT SUPPORT CONSULTANTS. THEY ARE SCAMMERS AND CRIMINALS. They will ask you some questions about your system, and have you do the following things:

  • Press the windows+R keys to open the “Run” box
  • Type in ” iexplore http://www.go2patch.com ” and hit enter
  • Type in the access code that they give you
  • Press the “Connect” button and then allow the program to run

If you do this, you have just given full access of your system to criminals who will steal valuable information, download real spyware or malware, or turn your computer into part of a botnet to send out spam.

This is just another incarnation of the “Zeus Virus” scam – same technique, different remote connection software.

If this happens to you, hit Ctrl-Alt-Del and open the Task Manager. End the browser task from there, whatever you’re running (IE, Edge, Chrome, Firefox, NCSA Mosaic, etc.)

What do you do if you have already allowed access? According to “Slim,” a registered user at 800Notes.com,

Since the scammers accessed the computer, they probably did one or more of the following:
• Disabled the anti-virus software
• Added nasty malware to the computer
• Copied the Contact List (so they can spam/email your soon-to-be ex-friends)
• Copied any financial data or passwords they could find
• Compromised your ID on Facebook or other social site(s), and perhaps on shopping sites.
• “Zombied” the computer, so it would respond to THEIR commands sent via internet
• Deleted some important files
• Asked for money to repair the damage they caused

What can you do immediately after such an attack?

1.  Pull the cables on the computer, or otherwise disable it, so it cannot access the internet.
2.  Change ALL  passwords stored on the computer.
3.  Run FULL malware scans on the computer, in “SAFE” mode!
4.  Change the passwords again, particularly if the malware scans showed anything.
5.  Inform your bank and credit card companies.
6.  Sign up for credit monitoring, and check the status frequently
7.  Backup non-executable personal, data files to an external storage device.  (Executable files might be infected).
8.  You may have to bring the computer to a local repair shop, and tell them the story.
9.  Tell friends what happened, so they can be aware of strange emails from you.
10.  Connect to the internet only AFTER all the above have been done.
11.  Change the passwords on all online accounts.  Even better – access a “safe”, uninfected  computer, and change your online account passwords RIGHT NOW.

Be careful out there – don’t help the bad guys mess up your machine.

The Old Wolf has spoken.

Marketing by terror

I’ve mentioned Android webjacking before, but here’s another example. Things like this are not usually “viruses” on your handheld device, but rather malicious code embedded in a legitimate website by unscrupulous advertisers.

screenshot_2017-02-16-11-04-16

 

First, this exploit makes your phone buzz like a hornet that’s just been pinched in a vise, and locks your browser. No going back. Second, vulgar sites? No, actually this popped up when I was trying to leave a comment at retailcomic.com. I trust the site not to hide exploits like this on purpose.

 

screenshot_2017-02-16-11-04-35

The claims on these “warnings,” along with being written in questionable English, are absolute lies: “If the problem can not be resolved immediately , the viruses will spy your phone, and destroy your SIM card, delete all your contacts.”

Now I’m just following the trail to see who’s behind this.

screenshot_2017-02-16-11-04-49

Looks like someone is hawking an app (surprise, surprise):

screenshot_2017-02-16-11-05-09

A comment at the app’s site complained, and the developer responded; notice the salutation “Dear,” usually seen on Nigerian scam emails but certainly a red flag that the app developer is not a native English speaker.

 

Screenshot_2017-02-16-11-05-51.png

Despite the apology and denial of malicious intent, I would be very suspicious of apps that are advertised in this way.

Be careful out there.

The Old Wolf has spoken.

Income by deception: they’re not even trying any more.

Have a look at a few screenshots from my Android a couple of days ago:

 

screenshot_2017-02-14-12-28-22

Hilarious joke collection. OK, I’m always up for a new laugh or two. But beware: popup ads like this are rarely honest or ethical, and often sleazy and deceptive. Let’s see:

screenshot_2017-02-14-12-30-26

Starting to smell a rat, but let’s just go down to the next level:

screenshot_2017-02-14-05-59-17

Well, the joke’s on me – and anyone who clicks these links. This transcends the concept of clickbait, which usually offers some kind of content in order to get people to the pages where ads are displayed. Now they’re eliminating the middleman altogether.

And people wonder why fake news gets such traction.

The Old Wolf has spoken.

Beware of “Pet Care” texts or emails

Scam Alert-stamp

Over at a post about working over a Craigslist scammer, I got a few comments about a particular scammer that’s working the “pet care” angle. I thought I’d respond to his email address and see how it works.

I wrote to jamesbrenard1@gmail.com: “Someone said you were interested in pet care. Where are you located?”

Here how the drone responded:

Hello and how are you doing?

Glad to read from you and since you were refereed by CARE, I feel comfortable discussing this opening as it concerns the comfort of my fur babies who happens to be the only babies i have presently but hoping for that to change soon. My name is James and my wife’s name is Maha, I contacted Care i needed a Caregiver so am trusting their judgement. I am relocating to your neighborhood from Canada. I recently got a contract with a company on a private research job and i’ll be in charge. My wife is 6 months pregnant, she was in a little accident few weeks ago so am a little indisposed and this is going to be a big change in my family so we want everything to move smoothly and stress-free, so i am going to have a limited time for our fur babies and this is where i hope you come in and help.

I need someone to work 4 hours in a day for an 3 days in the week, someone that is mature whether young or old, loves pets, reliable, attentive, honest and punctual. You will be taking care of 2 Dogs, Billy a yr old Australian Terrier and Misty a 4 years old German
Shepard for any three days of your choice excluding Sundays and will have to take them on a walk at least once a week, give them a bath, brush their hair and make them comfortable while we are away. I can handle the feeding but the rest i wont be able to do, so you can work for us as long as you want. I plan on getting 2 fishes on the other hand; one is a Fancy Goldfish, while the other is an Auratus Cichlid, we’ve never had fishes but i wish to have the very best care for them so i’ll need advise on names that you think will befit them. I trust you can do this for us.

Our arrival date will be on the 28th of January and we’ll be having a face to face meet on the 29th the day after our arrival. I will be offering you $415 weekly,and also will be needing your services for 4 hours at any suitable time of yours. Bonus will be paid if there are any overtime, If you believe you are fit for this position in as much you will prove yourself to be a reliable and good person, I will instruct my financial clerk to pay for the first week before our arrival so as to secure your service in advance and to show our commitment on our part. 

My financial clerk will require this information to be able to make out a check to you;

Full Name:
Full address with Apt Number:
City, State and Zip code:
Phone number:

I await to read from you soon.

Warmest regards

Note a couple of things:

  1. This bozo has no idea where I live. Even if legitimate, he or she could be living in Fairbanks, Alaska, and I might be responding from Key West, Florida.
  2. The promise of advance payment. Anyone who “bites” would be sent a check of this nature: Secret Shopper Bogus Check
  3. The next thing that would happen is that the criminal would send too much money and ask the victim to wire a large part of it to someone else via Western Union. Of course, the check is bogus, your money is gone, and you’re on the hook to the bank for the full amount – including possibly facing criminal charges of your own for negotiating false documents. That doesn’t happen often, but some banks and police departments are anal-retentive enough that it has happened, and will probably happen more often in the future.

I sent the drone a fake name but a real address… and never heard back. I wrote back once saying “Hey, what happened? You were going to send me a check to get Pet Care started. Did you change your mind,? Should I still be looking?” but never had a response. Either he somehow twigged that he was being played for a fool, or simply had moved on to a new victim.

At any rate, watch out for this individual and any others using the same ploy.

Be careful out there.

The Old Wolf has spoken.

No, Virginia, “brain booster” pills don’t work.

I have inveighed many times against the deceptive nature of affiliate marketing. It’s getting worse all the time, and otherwise legitimate entities are promoting it by allowing anybody and their capybara to inject ads onto their websites. It’s all about the revenue.

Newser™ used to be one of my favorite news aggregator sites, but my enthusiam began waning when their site became jugged with deceptive advertising, and my patience finally snapped when they added code to create popup tabs and randomly switch me to unwanted articles.

Advertorial.jpg

This one, which I had mentioned before, popped up again. It infuriates me, because people are going to believe this camel ejecta, and waste their money on worthless garbage. Instead of “BrainStorm Elite” or “IQ+,” it’s now called “Intelleral” – and it’s not much more than what they flufferously designate as WGCP (whole green coffee powder), meaning NoDoz™ would be just as effective because it’s nothing more than caffeine.

Take note:

  • Stephen Hawking does not say anything about Intelleral or anything else doubling your IQ.
  • The advertisement server is smart enough to know that I’m browsing from Maine, and it injects that state into the headline.
  • Anderson Cooper’s interview has nothing to do with any products.
  • I believe that Intelleral is worthless garbage, and its manufacturers are – in my humble opinion – criminal scum.

So let’s say you’re curious and google something like “intelleral scam.”

search.jpg

Take note that almost every one of these results is the result of an affiliate marketer’s campaign. The red WOT circles are also a good indication that these websites are deceptive and potentially dangerous.

An example: the last link on the list purports to warn you about the side effects and cost of Intelleral. And it’s nothing more than a page promoting the product:

intelleral-ad-1

How much more deceptive can you get than this? Why would you buy a product that’s so dishonestly promoted, even if it worked… which it doesn’t.

One customer wasn’t too happy… among countless:

This product is a scam
By [redacted], Canton, NC, Jan 6, 2017
I ordered Intelleral due to the wonderful advertisement and testimonies by several famous people. I have taken this for a couple of weeks with no noticeable positive effect.

I was checking my credit card this morning and noticed two different charges pending for the two trial items I ordered from the Intelleral website. I did not request future orders. I was billed $64.95 and then $69.95 (charges pending).I contacted my credit card company to dispute this.

Do not order from these people.

You notice her complaint about the extra charges? That’s standard operating procedure for these slimy bottom-feeders. Have a look at their “terms,” which you have to click through to read:

2.1 By placing your order you will be receiving a 14 day evaluation of for the price of $4.95! We stand by our satisfaction Guarantee and our friendly customer service. You will also be enrolling into our convenient auto ship program once your evaluation expires. You understand that you are subscribing to a monthly shipment program and you will be charged $89.99 per month starting 14 days from today and every 30 days thereafter unless cancelled. You also understand that you can cancel at any time, subject to the provisions of section 3, without further obligation by calling 888-298-0291, Monday – Friday between the hours of 9am-5pm MST. Your transaction will appear on your credit card statement as “”. You will recieve your package within 2-5 business days of each payment. Please allow 2-5 Business days for your initial Bottle.

There’s a lot more if you have the stomach to read it. You thought you were paying $4.95 for a trial, but you were actually obligating yourself to shell out $90 bucks a month for this snake oil, and good luck getting a refund from these weasels.

Best solution: TURN AROUND, RUN AWAY, DON’T LOOK BACK. Do not buy this or anything like it that sounds too good to be true, because it is.