SEC hat gerade eine Seite verfasst wie eine Betrügerfirma mit Analystenempfehlungen und Chance des Lebens,um zu zeigen wie sowas aufgezogen wird,- und um die Anleger zu warnen.Die Seite der erfundenen Firma Mc Whortle erhielt 150000
SAN FRANCISCO (CBS.MW) - A fake Securities and Exchange Commission Web site
designed to teach investors a valuable lesson left thousands of people feeling better educated - and a little embarrassed.
Last week, the site www.mcwhortle.com
of McWhortle Enterprises, an "established and well-known manufacturer of biological defense mechanisms," received about 150,000 hits from curious investors who'd read in a news release that the company would give "a small number of prudent, thoughtful people the chance of a lifetime."
The opportunity: To invest in McWhortle before its initial public offering scheduled for Wednesday.
There was only one wrinkle in the investment scheme: McWhortle didn't exist. Rather, the SEC, in cahoots with other agencies such as the National Association of Securities Dealers and the Federal Trade Commission, created the fictitious company and manufactured all the information presented on the site as part of a campaign to curb a investment-related scams. "What we're trying to do is warn investors while their guard is down. The next time, when they encounter a real scam, these investors won't let excitement cloud their better judgment," said SEC Chairman Harvey Pitt in a statement.
Investors who visited the site in search of the next best thing could read the news release, hear testimonials and even listen to an interview with the president of the company. The release touted McWhortle's "Bio-Hazard Alert Detector," described as a battery-powered device that fits in a purse or jacket pocket and beeps in the presence of all known biohazards.
To further convince potential investors, McWhortle turned on the hype machine: "Within hours the product sold out of each store, with no advertising and only word-of-mouth endorsement" in each of four test markets.
Comments from a "Fortune 100 company" chief financial officer and a Wall Street analyst from a "major investment banking firm" were among the testimonials used to bolster McWhortle's credibility.
Meanwhile, despite showing a photo of a building emblazoned with "McWhortle," the Web site provides only a post office box address in Washington D.C., rather than listing a physical location. The telephone number given sends callers to the voice mail of one Kelly Green, the investor relations manager who "just stepped away for a moment."
While the first stage of the company's pre-IPO was halted due to over-subscription, the site stated that investors still had the opportunity to get in on stage two by e-mailing McWhortle the following: "The number of shares you wish to purchase, together with your major credit card number and Social Security number."
At an estimated $10 per share, the site said that after the IPO ended in three months shares would "be worth more than 400 times the initial investment."
Guarding against scams
Inflated offers such as the one above can no doubt be exciting, but the SEC is hoping investors will learn not to rush into new opportunities before separating fact from fiction.
"We created this site because we've all seen an increase in the number of investment scams preying on our fears of anthrax and other bio-hazards," the site stated.
To avoid being suckered, the SEC is urging potential investors to do their own research to verify a company's existence and analyze its claims.
Investors on the fake site who took a circuitous route through the "press" section found a link for "financial statements." Those who chose to click through are congratulated for taking "an important first step before putting your money into an investment -- checking out a company's financial statements."
To learn more about protecting yourself against investment fraud, the SEC issued an investor alert www.sec.gov/investor/pubs/investorfraud.htm
Among other things, it says the following:
If the investment pitch sounds too good to be true, it is.
"Guaranteed returns" aren't.
Check out the company before you invest.
If it is that good, it will wait. cbs.marketwatch.com/news/...813E%2D03E8E0FC4913%7D&siteid=mktw