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Subliminal Messages Added to "Pump and Dump" Scams

Softscan recently uncovered a new twist to the “pump and dump” scam emails that promote stocks and shares. Scammers are employing a technique that became infamous in the late 1950s: subliminal messaging.

Used then by the film industry in an attempt to cleverly conceal advertising, subliminal messaging is now being incorporated into emails.

The “Pump and Dump” moniker refers to the strategy of the email senders. Recipients are encouraged to buy a particular stock or share because of fantastic, breaking ‘news.’ When enough stock has been bought, the email senders sell their own and make a profit, while the scammed are left with possibly worthless shares.

Although they’ve been around for years, these scams have grown considerably in recent months. According to SoftScan, the emails now show periodic, split-second images that contain the word “buy.” The images flash several times with the goal of infiltrating the thoughts of the recipient.

While reports indicate that the subliminal messaging is being used mainly for American stocks, it is likely to spread worldwide. Users beware.

As for the scammers, they ought to know that this technique didn’t last long in the 1950s. It was banned then, and probably will be again soon.

Désiré Athow

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.