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Share promotions & 'hot tips'

What are share promotion & ‘hot tip’ scams?

Share promotions and ‘hot tips’, also known as ‘share ramping’, are scams that usually come in the form of an email or a message on an internet forum. The messages usually encourage you to buy shares in a company that they predict is about to increase in value.

The person offering you this advice is usually either someone who wants to increase the share price so that they can sell their own shares for a profit, or a mass-marketing company paid by the scammer to send out thousands or even millions of emails.

These scams work by giving the impression of an ‘inside tip’ and stressing that you need to act quickly. The scammers are trying to boost the price of the stock so they can sell shares they have already bought and make a huge profit. The share value then goes down dramatically. The people who bought shares based on the advice in the messages can be left with large losses, or with shares that are just about worthless.

Warning signs

  • You receive an unexpected or unsolicited email offering you advice on the share price of a particular company.
  • The message will claim that the share price has recently increased by a large amount, or will do so after an ‘opening announcement’ (eg a drug approval, an upcoming merger, or a technology ‘breakthrough’).
  • The message has some ‘nonsense’ text before and/or after the share tip—for instance, words that look like a sentence but don’t make any sense (this is done to avoid spam filters).
  • The message usually won’t be addressed to you personally and may even give the impression that it has been sent to you by mistake. The messages are usually not signed.

Protect yourself from share promotions & ‘hot tip’ scams

  • Remember there are no get-rich-quick schemes: the only people who make money are the scammers.
  • Be wary of investments promising a high return with little or no risk.
  • Do not open suspicious or unsolicited emails (spam): delete them.
  • NEVER reply to a spam email (even to unsubscribe).
  • If it looks too good to be true—it probably is.

As well as following these specific tips, find out how to protect yourself from all sorts of other scams.

Do your homework

The most important question to ask when you receive a share promotion scam, is ‘If these shares are about to go up, why are they telling me about it?’ Why would someone with a quick way to make a lot of money share it with anybody else? Hot tips are usually sent to hundreds of thousands of email addresses. Don’t be fooled by an email that looks like it is addressed to someone else (and sent to you by mistake) as this is all part of the scam.

The chances of a share promotion email being anything other than a scam are very slim. If you feel that there may be some truth in the offer, look for the company’s listing on the stock exchange and check its value and recent performance. Do NOT reply to the email or internet forum post for more information—consult an independent source.

If you really think there's potential in a piece of uninvited investment news you receive, ALWAYS check with an independent, qualified financial adviser licensed by ASIC before you take any action.

Decide

Ignore the email or internet forum post. If you really think the tip might be real, DO NOT reply to the email. Check with an independent financial adviser instead.

Don't risk any money on uninvited emails. Only go ahead if you are sure of the email source and have checked the investment with a financial adviser. If you do decide to go ahead, use a stockbroker or share trading service based in Australia. DO NOT reply to the unsolicited email. If you do reply the scammer may request a deposit or your bank account details, and flood you with more spam.

Report them

Please let ASIC know if you've seen a dodgy share promotion or ‘hot tip’. You should also spread the word to your friends and family to protect them.

Top

What to do if you've been scammed; Scams & the law; Report a scam.

Similar scams:


Unsolicited phone calls pushing high-return and high-risk investments, often in overseas markets. The callers sound professional but are not licensed in Australia.

High-pressure sales in high-risk investment strategies. Scammers profit through attendance fees and by selling property and investments at inflated prices.

Expensive software packages that promise to predict the results of sporting events or share market movements. When they fail to work as promised, refunds are hard to come by.

You are offered early access to your superannuation (‘early release’), often through a self-managed super fund. The scammers take a large part of your super for themselves, and put you at risk for accessing your super in an illegal way.

Spam emails, SMS or MMS usually offer free goods or ‘prizes’, very cheap products or promises of wealth. Responding to spam messages can result problems for you computer and your bank account.

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