<< All News Tuesday, September 7, 2004

Bismarck, ND - The North Dakota Securities Department is alerting North Dakota investors to a new scam sweeping the country - the answering machine wrong number stock pitch.

Messages are being left on home answering machines claiming that the stock price of certain small, thinly traded companies will soon shoot up in value. The breezy, intimate messages sound as if a female caller mistakenly believes she has dialed a girlfriend and is confiding inside information she has learned from someone they both know.

Regulators believe these telephone messages are part of a pump and dump stock manipulation scheme, whereby the people behind the messages intend to profit by driving up the price of their targeted stocks, then selling, and leaving victims with losses. State Securities Regulators and the SEC have received hundreds of complaints from investors across the country about these wrong number messages.

Investors should never buy stocks on the basis of 'hot' tips from strangers, said North Dakota Securities Commissioner Karen Tyler. The stock prices of the companies mentioned in these calls may go up as people listen to the messages and buy on this information. But in all 'pump and dump' schemes, as soon as the promoter stops pushing a stock, the price plummets and other investors lose their money.

The North Dakota Securities Department is asking investors who receive this type of call to save the message and contact the Department with the name of the company being pushed, the date and time of the call, and the number from which the call was made, if available.

To listen to a wrong number voicemail or read a transcript from a wrong number call, visit the Investor Information page on the SEC website at www.sec.gov.

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