Pumpin’ and dumpin’

Capitalism fascinates me. Not necessarily the accumulating wealth part, but the process where a business grows and begins to need additional capital, so it takes itself public. Quite often a company has what they call an IPO, or initial public offering. As an example Google started out in its IPO at $85 per share as I recall and now it’s 5 times that. But for every Google you have to assume there’s 100 companies out there that simply tank because of a poor business plan or a harebrained product. Eventually these companies flame out to such a point that their stocks aren’t worth the paper they’re printed on. It seems like that’s the point where some “investment guru” decides to send out thousands of junk faxes (with names such as “Hot Stocks On The Street”, “On The Move Stock Alert”, “Green Stock Alert”, “Wall Street Insider”, or “Uptrend Finder”) to pump up the stock price so they can recoup their investments.

At our business we’re saddled with a number of these faxes a week. So just for fun I kept a few of these and decided to do an imaginary portfolio – $1,000 each at the price they’re listed at the day we received the fax, and track their performance through Friday’s close (the final trading day of 2006.) All of these are “OTC” stocks so they’re very thinly traded.

Allied Energy Group (AGGI) – close at fax date (12-12) was $0.53, closed Friday at $0.40.
Environmental Control Corporation (EVCC) – close at fax date (9-11) was $1.19, closed Friday at $1.39.
Global Beverage Solutions, Inc. (GBVS) – close at fax date (8-30) was $0.89, closed Friday at $0.42.
Homeland Security International (aka Sniffex, Inc.) (HSFI) – close at fax date (10-23) was $0.18, closed Friday at $0.04.
Hybrid Technologies, Inc. (HYBT) – close at fax date (10-20) was $6.80, closed Friday at $3.52.
Syngas International Corp. (SYNI) – close at fax date (9-18) was $0.40, closed Friday at $0.33.
TAO Minerals Ltd. (TAOL) – close at fax date (9-27) was $0.15, closed Friday at $0.10.

So the mythical $1,000 investments in each fared thusly:

AGGI would be worth $754.71.
EVCC would be worth $1,168.07.
GBVS would be worth $471.91.
HSFI would be worth $222.22.
HYBT would be worth $517.64.
SYNI would be worth $825.00.
TAOL would be worth $666.67.

The total “portfolio” would only be worth $4626.22 – off 33.9% from when it was bought scant months ago. Meanwhile, the overall stock markets gained double-digits in 2006 as a whole. There was one gainer out of seven but just randomly picking seven stocks on the NYSE or NASDAQ would probably get me more than one gainer.

So who’s making the money on these? Well, if you read the fine print at the bottom there’s a disclosure that the company which distributed the flyer was compensated for doing so. Here’s a list of the companies that distributed each and their renumeration.

AGGI – “OTM Stock Alerts…was compensated seventy three thousand five hundred dollars by a third party, who is not affiliated with AGGI.”
EVCC – “Sonora Associates Inc. has received one hundred twenty thousand dollars from a third party for the production and distribution of this newsletter.” (This was the “Green Stock Alert”.)
GBVS – “Pathfinder (Marketing) was paid $150,000 for the distribution of this report.”
HSFI – “Cyber (Communications Services) was paid $200,000 for the distribution of this report.”
HYBT – “UTF (Newsletter) has been hired by a third party and is expected to receive $18,000 for the publication and circulation of this report.”
SYNI – Pathfinder (Marketing) was paid $80,000 for the distribution of this report.”
TAOL – “Sonora Associates has accepted compensation in the amount of $120,000 for the distribution of this information.”

Folks, that’s a LOT of stock shares. And I’d have to say that UTF is really selling themselves short since their fee was much less than the others. Something tells me it’s probably pretty easy money because I’m thinking all you need is a nice word processor and a program that can broadcast faxes to thousands of numbers from your computer.

Which leads to the $761,500 question – who’s paying for all this?

In a few cases, it’s noted in the fine print. Sonora Associates “may own a non-controlling share of (Environmental Control Corporation) and reserves the right to sell their shares at any time without prior notice.” Uptrend Finder notes that “UTF and its insiders may from time to time buy or sell (Hybrid Technologies) common shares in the open market without notice.”

Both Pathfinder Marketing and Cyber Communications Services (responsible for the “Hot Stocks On The Street” newsletter) were paid by an outfit called Gemini Market News, Inc. And wouldn’t you know it – “Gemini Market News, Inc.’s affiliates, officers, directors, or employees may own shares of the companies described herein and in that event intend to sell such shares.” Can you say bingo? Seems to me they transfer money from one corporation they own to another (so no loss to them) and they pump up the price to dump the stock (hence, “pump and dump.”) Imagine my surprise when I looked up the stocks through my brokerage account and noticed that there was a spike in volume just after the faxes went out. Yeah, it could be a coincidence, but let’s be real here.

Legally, these fax distribution companies have to provide an “opt-out” number but from accounts I’ve read it’s perpetually busy. And what this also does is verify that you have a “good” fax number so their sister company starts pounding away with junk faxes. I chuckled during my reading on this as one person described how they made a loop of black construction paper and faxed one of these numbers back over a weekend. But if it’s done off a computer there’s no way to get back the faxer in this manner.

Before I finish, I don’t want to make this a vendetta against the companies who offered their shares on the OTC market. They can’t always help who’s bought their stock and the efforts to make a profit (or at least cut their losses) on those shares. Allied Energy Group, et. al. are apparently legitimate companies and who knows, it’s possible they may turn the corner and be successful. Unfortunately, with these penny stocks sometimes the odds are better of hitting the lottery than getting rich off the stock.

Author: Michael

It's me from my laptop computer.

60 thoughts on “Pumpin’ and dumpin’”

  1. Do you have any contact information on either Parthfinder or any of their sister companies. One I would like to turn them over to the FCC and if I had a fax number I could clog their fax with return faxes of their fax.

  2. I am in Florida, and these schemes are breaking the law times three. First of all, there is no fax footprint, required under Florida law. Second, the “Opt Out” number does not work. I frequently get touts from the same organization using a different fax “Opt Out” number, even though the Caller ID is the same on the incoming fax. And third, my fax number is, and has been, listed with the National “Do Not Call” registry since its inception. I am seriously considering filing suit against the companies involved, on the theory that the criminal acts were committed by shareholders, and the only way to reach them is through the company.

  3. The majority of the “Junk Faxes” that are received are in violation of a federal law enacted in 1991 called the “Telephone Consumer Protection Act”. Each violation entitles the recipiant on each “junk fax” to $500 per occurance, and up to 3 times that ammount if the act is knowingly or willfully violating the act, which most companies are. Hooters of Agusta was ordered to pay approximately $11,889,000 back in 2001 for ads sent to approx. 1,321 different numbers 6 times. I myself have an attorney drafted letter that I will be sending everytime a receive an unsolicited toner burning fax demanding a payment of $500 to dismiss my right to file suit with the courts. Now for the hard part, finding some legitamate contact information.

  4. Jeff & Doug
    I have tried my best to find out who sends these frustrating faxes. I will join in any class action suit against these people. I’ve also been on the National “Do Not Call” registry and for the first three months, it helped. Now, they are coming again w/ regularity. Amazing that many arrive on Sundays at 2am. I have saved all these annoying faxes just in case anyone can 1) find the offending company; and 2) need them for the FCC and/or a law suit.

  5. I need a phone number, fax number or some where to reach these idiots!!! My ink, my paper my time. I can find ZERO way to contact these stupid idiots and I’m sick of receiving this crap. Please someone, anyone give us some contact info….

  6. Greetings.

    Are you aware of anything that can be done when the opt-out number is always busy? I did a Google search on Cyber Communications Services Ltd. and came up with zilch: no Web site or contact number of any kind, much less a fax number that I can prank. (I love the loop-of-black-paper idea. Very inventive…)

    Enjoyed your monoblogue.



  7. Don’t think that just because you finally do get through to the opt out number that it makes any difference. I keep all these junk faxes and I’ve opted out to the same number several times within the last few months. It is really depressing and a waste of my time.

  8. I was told by my boss to get rid of these things. I called all 3 million of them and this opt out number doesn’t work. technically they found a loop hole throught the law. if anyone can find a way to get rid of these things….let me know. i am planning on having my IT guys help me get rid of these!!!
    please if you find the way out…..email me at kcarroll@hmcdirect.com

  9. I am also tired of gettng these faxes for “hot stocks”. I just received this last fax from “Hot Stock” and as usual no fax number available. I called the “800” opt-out number to remove my fax number and all I get is a busy signal. I hope their fax number
    “beep” out and doesn’t work anymore. It is a waste of my time, not to mention the waste of my paper that it prints on.

  10. Sign me up for any Class Action Suite that may arise out of these darn faxes. So much for the National Do Not Call Registry. Can nothing be done? I continue to file ‘complaints’ on-line with the DNC site – but I keep getting these faxes.

  11. THANK you thank you, we just received our umteenth crap fax too. We are a local non profit and resources are wasted with these faxes that seemingly can’t be stopped. I tried the “unsubscribe number” which rang busy everytime I called. I tried to find an actual comapny to contact and got no where with that. I was relieved and elated to find your blog and peoples comments. Any help on how to stop this process is appreciated.

  12. For the 15+ time in the past few months I was awakened by a 3:00 AM junk fax. I try to remember to turn off my fax, but sometimes forget. Needless to say it was a piece of garbage Hot Stocks On the Street Fax with a removal number of 800-918-2902. Busy, 24/7… Probably a bogus number. Called the FCC as sleep deprivation makes me cranky. Was faxed all the current “fax rules” What a joke! A class action suit is the only way to get these guys, and the FCC first has to have tons of complaints. Please join with me in canvasing the FCC with our individual complaints to get the Junk Fax Prevention Act of 2005 enforced and stop the mass waste of toner, paper, wear and tear on machines, and in my case loss of sleep.

  13. I found this blog in my quest to try to figure out how to contact “Hot Stocks on the Street” to opt out of their ongoing barrage of faxes. I guess I’m not the only unfortunate victim. What a waste of time, energy, and resources! I also tried to see about going to Gemini Market News, Inc. to voice my complaint, and they too are elusive. It’s really frustrating. Sooner or later someone probably will file a class action suit.

  14. Hot Stocks definitely follows no rules.

    Wonder how they get an 800 number and make it busy 24/7.
    Buy a line and have a phone off the hook? Somebody still pays for that 800 number.

    We need a computer specialist and figure out how to track back where this junk comes from. Most likely offshore.

    If enough people block the various numbers where these faxes come from maybe the company(ies) will run out of options.

    As for black page return spamming, with the internet faxing, a return fax may land in an electronic inbox.

    You can have a fax number and only download faxes you want. Maybe a way to go, if the fax machine junk keeps coming.
    Annoying to say the least


  15. Here is the link to the FCC’s complaint process for faxes. Put a cover letter on all the junk faxes you get and then FAX them to the FCC, then maybe they’ll get involved.


    Just in case the link doesn’t work here’s what they say:

    “Filing a complaint with the FCC is easy.” (Whether it will be effective is this posters comment!)

    Faxes fall under the FCC’s “General Complaint” category:

    “General Complaints include cramming, billing disputes with your authorized wireline or wireless telephone service provider, unsolicited telephone marketing calls and faxes, telephone company advertising practices, paging services, cable services, and accessibility issues by persons with disabilities to telecommunications equipment and services.”

    In addition to online, mail and by phone you can FAX them a complaint.

    My suggestion, put a cover on the fax with dates, times, numbers and then send them all the offending faxes you’ve recieved. I’m sure they will need it for “evidence.”

    Here is the FCC’s complaint fax number. And goody, it’s toll free. Your taxes at work…

    General Complaints may be faxed toll-free to: 1-866-418-0232

  16. Sign me up on that Class Actiojn too! On 1-1-07 INDIANA made it illegal to send unsolicited faxes and yet still they come…and come…and come. I’ve actually turned to sending nasty grams back to the actual companies if they have a website and better yet an investors relations e-mail address. Wonder if that will work any??? Thanks for the tip on the FCC’s complaint number – I’m feeling the need to fax! Just why in the WORLD do these people think I’d buy stock from some fax…..

  17. OK, Everyone wake up and listen. If you do not understand short selling, learn. Every 10k shares shorted resulted in an awful lot of money for the short seller. It’s like grandpa used to say, “Stop complaining and use what is out there for your benefit. If you don’t have a replacement for corn, grow it and sell to everyone.”
    He definitely kept it simple and easy, wouldn’t you say.

  18. I just faxed a complaint to FCC using form 475. If enough of us do this, maybe they will make a case out of company or give a better way to block junk faxes.

  19. Bill, interesting thought about the short-selling. But, maybe the point is whether we would want to do it the way these guys are – I think the issue is ethics. At least for me. And the problem (using your example) is that while Hot Stocks is growing corn, we’re paying for their seeds.

  20. I too am receiving these junk faxes. After reading this blog it occured to me that I might be able to do something on my fax machine. My fax machine keeps a log of all sent and received faxes. Hot Stocks was listed along with several others I’ve received junk faxes from in the past. I clicked on these senders and added them to my “Blocked Numbers” list. Hopefully it will work for the future.

  21. I think the only way we are going to be able to catch these jerks is to put a call tracer on our fax machines. If you all want to join me in a class action lawsuit, I would be willing to see if I can get a tracer.

  22. good info found at http://www.wilmerhale.com new rules for fax advertising. wish I could give the correct fax number still trying. its now my obsession to find New titans of tech, Cyber communications service ltd and Gemini market news inc. I’ve even went on the international yahoo. good luck to all

  23. I found something the other day that I think said the company Cyber Communication is based in Uganda with no further info given. My dollars and time will likly turn towards electronic fax inbox so I can get on with my business without losing valuable overhead dollars chasing a scam-builder who evidently is making a ton of money doing this or they would stop.

  24. You know a great idea would be a website that publishes all these scams for the whole world to see and then heavily market in the search engines to expose these “hot stocks” scams so that fewer people will buy them if they do ANY Google search on them to find out how to buy them and instead see a “scam alert”

  25. i have also called many times with no results in stopping the irritating junk. It appears Hot Stocks on the Street no longer exists online and Cyper Communcations is attempting to locate who is using their name in these unauthorized commications. Would love to get these stopped. Am going to check the incoming fax log and see about blocking.

    Maybe the local phone company or toll-free directory asst. would prove better results from comlaints if enough people call.

  26. I also have tried to search for these guys on line with no luck, have called the 800 number numerous times, but except for unplugging my fax, I don’t have a solution. I’m going to call my phone company to get the caller id blocker put on my line to see if that will prevent these from coming through. NYTimes front page of business(B1)(1/20/07) has an article about “no call lists,” but doesn’t mention faxes. We all should see if NYTimes would write an article about this and maybe then we’d find a solution. Email yourmoneyatnytimes.com

  27. A few legal points for you guys:

    1. The opt-out number is not legally required. That’s because it’s just plain illegal to send you junk faxes. Giving you an opt-out numher does not get the sender off the hook. It’s just a tactic to make you feel good about them.

    2. The junk fax senders are actually violating two different laws, in most cases: the junk fax law, and the law that requires them to include the sender’s fax number. You’ll notice that’s almost never present on the faxes you receive.

    3. The big problem is tracking them down, so you can sue them and collect on a judgment. One big problem is that a lot of these senders are offshore, and beyond the reach of our government. One I received was from Hong Kong. Such is the price of cheap international phone calls.

    4. You can try filing a complaint with the FTC. I did that with one junk faxer who didn’t have the courtesy to remove my number after repeated requests. The faxes stopped a month or two later. I hope the company went out of business, but maybe the FTC threatened them.

  28. I’ve gotten 4 of these “stock tips” from Gemini Market News in January alone (so far!) and I’m tired of being awakened by the monitor’s glare (I now receive faxes on the computer, and no longer keep the fax machine plugged in, as the expensive special ribbon-paper gets used up by these things).
    Has anyone found a lead on where Gemini or Cyber or the sending number? I am in 310 area code.
    … Al

  29. i filed form 475 with FCC on Jan 11th and today, Feb 2nd i got an emailed response. it’s a form letter of course, but they encourage us to report violations. coincidently (or not) i finally stopped receiving these faxes, last one jan 24th. the last one i got the “opt out” number was not busy as it has been consistently in the past. The FCC did state they do not investigate individual complaints, but do take action if there are a number of them. website is: http://www.fcc.gov/cbg. The FCC fines if levied can be up to $11,00 per violation. i must admit it felt good to do something and my fax is much quieter, for now. jm

  30. Thank god I found this, it is nice to these idiots are not just bugging me. Of course now I don’t feel so special, so besides the FCC is there anything that could be done or should I just wait for those guys to e-mail me back?

  31. Asian Investment Alert keeps coming through despite “opt-out” confirmation–and at 2 in the morning. Latest pump is on Terra Nostra Resources Corp., 55 South Lake Avenue, Ste 700, Pasadena, CA 91191, F: 626-796-5999; Investor Relations: 866-626-0088. Recommend you threaten them with NO CALL law violations, for a corp cannot do indirectly through an agent that which it cannot do directly. You will probably get a reply–“we don’t know who these people are–we’ve tried to stop them, too.” Would love to find out where this stupid group is located, or the computer phone line sending the faxes–but it’s probably a company in Iran leasing a US 800 line (or something really inane and difficult to trace). If I have any luck, I’ll “live search” for this blog to post an update. Meanwhile, we ALL suffer (too bad the HP multi-function doesn’t have a call log, or I’d trace the phone number). GOOD LUCK!

  32. I frequently have this junk on my fax machine when I open up my home office in the early morning. I have tried calling opt out numbers and of course the stuff keeps coming. I’ve even reported them to the Do Not Call List. The fine print in the footnotes lists names like Cyber Communications Services, Ltd., Gemini Market News, Inc, etc. A Google search brings up similar names but not these (what a surprise). Since these guys aren’t selling news letters and they’re not brokers trying to sell me the stock there is only one possibility – they’re scammers trying to get suckers like us to buy so the price will run up. Guess who will be selling to anyone dumb enough to buy this crap? That’s right, Gemini Market News, Cyber Communications and the current major stock holders of these phony companies.
    The good news is that the SEC is looking into this stuff, according to an article I saw last week. The bad news is it takes forever and these guys will have plenty of money from suckers who fall for these “News Letters” to pay shister lawyers to cry about “Freedom of Speech” or “Constitutional Rights”.

  33. The “Cybercommunications” website (that doesn’t work) has an address with “.za”, in other words: South Africa.

  34. I have received a number of these faxes myself. I’ve tried entering my number on their removal line, but to no avail.

    I’m guessing that they probably use their removal line as a means of confirming and collecting new numbers to spam, so I did the following:

    1) I entered their own number, so they waste money calling themselves.

    2) I entered the number to my local police department.

    3) I entered 911-911-9111. They’ll be in big trouble when they call that one. 😀

    I suggest everyone call their removal line (1-800-910-3972) and enter the number of every government agency and government official you can think of. When enough of these agencies start getting these calls, something will surely be done about it.

  35. Well, its 5AM and the fax machine in my home office just got the entire family up from a sound sleep. Hot Stocks on the Street strikes again. As many others have offered, I believe they use the opt-out line to collect and distribute numbers. If you attempt to call the opt-out line when the faxes are being sent (late night or early morning), you will get an error message, with your number repeated. As such, the simple act of calling these numbers records the number you are phoning from. If its a line other than your fax, you’ve just given them another number to add to the list. Attempting to enter a false number probably will not work, as they can easily screen manually entered numbers and use only “origination points” for their records.

  36. I received another one this morning – and yes it woke me up! So I got on line and tried to find out who these idiots are. I have gotten through to opt out but have done this for the last 3 months. It obviously doesn’t work and/or they don’t care. You would think with our technology, when someone applies for a phone number there has to be a way to know who and where they are. I did find a company, Cyber Communications that has been the victim of Cyber Communications Services Ltd. (not the same company). They said they were based out of Afghanistan and are not related. Would love to have these people nailed!!

  37. Sign me up for the class action suit!!! These guy’s have been getting away from me for over a year. I have reserched Cyber Communications Services Ltd. and had no luck getting a contact number to stop these annoying faxes. opt. out number is busy 24/7 and if you get through, they send you more faxes! Go Figure!
    Anyone that knows more about how to contact these guy’s feel free to e mail me at hojosautomart@yahoo. Bring me the gun, I’ll provide the bullets!

  38. I’ve been getting these faxes at the office for a long time and can never connect to the “opt out” phone number. I correctly dial 1-800-918-2902 and am left with dead air and my phone screen says Enter Number, as though I’m digits short. I can’t even connect to enter their own number!

    What a waste of paper & ink…

  39. I called the company they were pushing and demanded they have my number removed. It seemed to work for about 2 months. The receptionist was clearly shocked, first denying they had hired Cyber Comm and then admitting it. Somebody is paying these companies to fax away.

  40. I just completed the FCC’s form #475 on the internet. I think everyone who is receiving these faxes should do the same, then maybe something will be done somehow. You have several options for filing: internet, mail, fax, e-mail. It was pretty easy and not too time consuming.
    Thank you to the person who started this site!!

  41. I am continuously told by my boss to call these opt-out numbers and remove us from their lists, but to no avail….same as the rest of you. I work for a small (7 people small) company – with a great, but very cost conservative boss….who does not like to have to buy new ink and paper as often as he does….When I call the opt-out number for the Hot Stocks fax I CONSTANTLY get, I get an operator error message…not even a busy signal. I was actually, as it seems the rest of you were, attempting to look up Cyber Communications Services Ltd, and came across this website instead…I get the Hot Stocks fax approximately 3 times a day….IF ever anyone finds a way to contact these idiots, please let me know!!!

  42. This is what I sent to 19 Action news Cleveland. Carl is an investigative reporter. Carl, Lets see how really good you are. Can you get to the bottom of unwanted faxes. Let me know, I have attached a web site for you to see. Thank You. http://monoblogue.us/?p=337

  43. I have sent mine to the Indiana Attorney General’s office. In Indiana, we have a ‘do not fax’ law and they’re going after the company. I sent several to the AG last fall and they really slacked off. Unfortunately, they’ve started up again. But maybe when they get fined and fined and fined, they’ll stop or at least slow down.

  44. Click on this link and it will give you all of the information for the fax pumpin and dumpin

  45. I don’t know if this will help but it really doesn’t hurt to try. I finally go so fed up that I started looking on the web for the companies that they were actually advertising for. I wrote a nice long email to the attorney for the company and he seemed very sympathetic to the fact that I continue to get junk faxes with his companies name all over it. Maybe if he receives enough emails from unhappy fax receivers, he will actually get contact Cyber Communications Service, Ltd. We can only hope. Try vivaworldtrade.com follow the links to their attorney’s amial address.

  46. Am getting the same faxes as everyone else complains about with the 800-918-2902 “removal” number. Have filed complaints with the FCC – nothing ever happens. WHY CAN’T THE FEDS JUST SHUT THESE PEOPLE DOWN? They can easily trace the phone number. One suggestion in the meantime: call the number all day long, making them pay huge phone bills! It’s now on my speed dial.

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