A still-unknown fraudster published a fake news story today on a website designed to look identical to Bloomberg News. The site was convincing enough to send Twitter stock soaring up nearly 8 percent after it claimed the company was being acquired for $31 billion and suggested Google was the buyer. It was most likely part of a pump and dump scheme, where the actor behind the bad information quickly sold their Twitter stock as the price rose.
According to Reuters, the fake website was registered in Panama and used a firm called WhoIsGuard to mask its identity when registering the domain. A close read of the story could have offered a few clues that it wasn't the genuine article. It was published on bloomberg.markets instead of the official bloomberg.com. It also misspelled the name of former Twitter CEO Dick Costolo.
Dick "Costello" must be furious right now
Using fake news to pump and dump a stock is a common tactic. In the past, scammers have used wire services like PRWeb to distribute a false story. In the age of social media and high-frequency trading, huge amounts of money can trade hands in seconds, often allowing the perpetrator to cash out well before the information is proven false.