Earlier today, a press release was floating around that claimed Google had bought Wi-Fi hotspot company ICOA for $US400 million. It was bogus, but many bought it. So what gives? Why would someone do this? Probably to make a killing on stocks.
Buzzfeed points out that ICOA stock was trading for a mere penny this morning, before the release. Shortly after however, at the peak of confusion, it was trading for five. It may not sound like much, but if you have a whole bunch of stock, it is. While the SEC has since frozen trades of ICOA stock, there was a huge spike just before. Chances are someone could have walked away with at least a million dollars, and possibly much more. All thanks to one fake release posted by an otherwise reputable site.
If that is what happened, it was totally illegal, but that doesn't mean it didn't work. It seems like an odd topic for a regular old prank, so the stock scam theory holds a lot of water. ICOA may not be getting sweet, sweet acquisition money, but it looks like someone made out on the mess even if it was a dirty trick. [Buzzfeed]