WASHINGTON -- The Securities and Exchange Commission this morning suspended trading in the securities of 35 companies that have been the subject of recent and repeated spam email campaigns. The trading suspensions - the most ever aimed at spammed companies - were ordered because of questions regarding the adequacy and accuracy of information about the companies.
The trading suspensions are part of a stepped-up SEC effort - code named "Operation Spamalot" - to protect investors from potentially fraudulent spam email hyping small company stocks with phrases like, "Ready to Explode," "Ride the Bull," and "Fast Money." It's estimated that 100 million of these spam messages are sent every week, triggering dramatic spikes in share price and trading volume before the spamming stops and investors lose their money.
"When spam clogs our mailboxes, it's annoying. When it rips off investors, it's illegal and destructive," said SEC Chairman Christopher Cox. "Today's trading suspensions, and actions that will follow, should send a clear message to spammers: the SEC will hold you accountable."