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ASIC joins with US to stop free share offers

THE Australian Securities and Investments Commission has joined a US Securities and Exchange Commission campaign to stop Internet-based free share offers.

The ASIC has received a number of complaints about ‘free stock offers’ received by email from a US entity called FreeBanCo.

The email tempts recipients by reminding them of the wealth earned by the investors who got in on the ground floor of Yahoo!

The offer requires people to give personal details to FreeBanCo in return for a credit of five shares in the entity should it incorporate and float publicly.

To keep the exercise moving, the company also offers a credit of three shares for every person referred to it.

The email details given could then be used for any purpose or even sold to ‘spam’ – email junk mail – marketing promoters.

ASIC director electronic enforcement Tim Phillipps said there was significant value in a person’s email address.

“Unless you are prepared for a bad case of ‘spam’ in the future, do not give it away,” Mr Phillipps said.

“A promise of share credits in a company that has not yet been incorporated and may never list publicly is a share in virtual unreality,” he said.

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