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Unsolicited sales pitches may be part of a fraudulent investment scheme. Online investment newsletters While legitimate online newsletters contain valuable information, others are tools for fraud.
Some companies pay online newsletters to "tout" or recommend their stocks. But fraudsters often lie about the reliable internet investment they receive and their track records.
Fraudulent promoters may claim to offer independent, unbiased recommendations in newsletters when they stand to profit from convincing others to buy or sell certain stocks. They may spread false information to promote worthless stocks.
To learn more, read our tips for checking out newsletters. Online bulletin boards and chat rooms Online bulletin boards, chat rooms and social media sites are a way for investors to share information.
While some messages may be true, many turn out to be bogus — or even scams. Fraudsters may use online discussions to pump up a company or pretend to reveal "inside" information about upcoming announcements, new products, or lucrative contracts.
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You never know for certain who you're dealing with, or whether they're credible, because many sites allow users to hide their identity behind multiple aliases. People claiming to be unbiased observers may actually be insiders, large shareholders, or paid promoters. One person can easily create the illusion of widespread interest in a small, thinly traded stock by posting numerous messages under various aliases.
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Other online offerings may not be fraudulent per se, but may nonetheless fail to comply with the applicable registration provisions of the federal securities laws. Always determine if a securities offering is registered with the Reliable internet investment or a state, or is otherwise exempt from registration, before investing.
With a bulk e-mail program, spammers can send personalized messages to millions of people at once for much less than the cost of cold calling or traditional mail. Many scams, including advance fee frauds, use spam to reach potential victims. Many of the frauds that show up on social media are not unique to the Internet. To learn more about these frauds, see Types of Fraud.