September 2, 2015: According to an Investor Alert issued by FINRA earlier today, WhatsApp, "a cross-platform mobile messaging app which allows you to exchange messages without having to pay for SMS" was used as the tool for the recent Pump & Dump scheme conducted on shares of Avra, Inc. (AVRN) a penny stock scam with a Pump & Dump history. We tracked a promotion on these shares back in April of this year. The August 21st spam text promotion seemed to have been more successful as far as the perpetrators of the fraud were concerned, as millions of shares were dumped on the more gullible recipients of the texts.
|Chart of Trading in AVRN on August 21, 2015|
The FINRA alert states that WhatsApp, owned by a subsidiary of Facebook, Inc., was used to transmit spam text messages, flooding users with urges to buy the intrinsically valueless stock. According to FINRA,
AVRN's most recent financials, filed in June for the period ending April 30, 2015, states that the company is devoid of any real assets save for $25K in cash. $245K in liabilities and no revenues are claimed. The company is pretending to be involved in the digital currency industry.The messages appeared to be sent from individuals at well-known brokerage firms. Using only a first name ("Hi it's Will at XYZ firm…"), the text would talk up the stock. One message claimed AVRN was "going to double in the next few days." Another said it "is going up 300% next week.
|AVRN One Year Chart|