Pump-and-dump schemers have found a platform for the 21st century.
Scammers took to messaging app WhatsApp to convince users to buy shares of over-the-counter stock Avra, before shedding their stake at a higher price, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority said in a notice Wednesday. Some app users received messages, apparently from employees of well-known brokerages, saying Avra was "going to double in the next few days."
FINRA warned investors to use caution if they see any similar offers on messaging apps.
"Scammers keep up with the times. If you are using a messaging app and receive a tout claiming that a stock is poised for explosive growth, don't respond—just delete," said Gerri Walsh, FINRA's senior vice president for investor education.