Investor Alert: BC regulator steps into fight against stock spam

 

May 18, 2007

Vancouver People with inboxes crammed with unsolicited emails touting penny stocks can now help the British Columbia Securities Commission in its fight against spam by forwarding the unwelcome emails.

The BCSC issued today an investor alert about an over-the-counter quoted company as part of a new program that features halting the trading of securities of companies that are the subject of a stock spam campaign.

BCSC staff has temporarily halted trading of the securities of Compliance Systems Corp. (COPI.OB), a company with shares quoted on the US Over-the-Counter-Bulletin Board. The order bars any trading of the company’s shares in BC for three business days.

This new initiative – ‘SpamWatch’ – alerts investors about and helps prevent the trading in BC of company shares that are the subject of stock spam campaigns.

“With the huge amount of spam circulating that can cause improper or unfair trading, we are stepping up our public warnings by issuing alerts and taking immediate action with temporary halts,” says BCSC Executive Director Brenda Leong.

Unsolicited emails or spam can cause unfair trading in securities that can be harmful to investors and can tarnish the reputation of BC’s capital markets. By halting trading early in the spam campaign, BCSC staff hope to prevent BC investors from being victimized.

The BCSC is focusing on companies that do not have to disclose financial information to Canadian regulators and are not listed on a Canadian exchange. This is because spam campaigners usually target issuers with securities quoted on the US OTCBB or Pink Sheets.

As part of SpamWatch, BCSC staff are tracking and monitoring stock spam and have dedicated an email address – [email protected] – for the public to forward unsolicited emails touting stocks.

Not only are investors encouraged to forward stock spam to the BCSC, they can also go to the InvestRight.org website to see a list of companies that have been the subject of spam campaigns along with the companies whose shares the BCSC has halted.

“This list gives investors another reference tool for doing their due diligence when deciding whether to invest,” Leong says.

InvestRight is the British Columbia Securities Commission’s one-stop resource for investors to educate themselves on how to make informed investment decisions. Its comprehensive website at www.InvestRight.org provides a wide range of tools to help investors develop critical thinking skills they need to protect themselves – information such as how to do background checks, investment products, a scam meter and video clips from victims of investment fraud.

The BCSC is the independent provincial government agency responsible for regulating trading in securities within the province. If you have questions, contact Andrew Poon, Media Relations, 604-899-6880.