Over the course of Monday, the tech world got duped by a phony press release that claimed Google had acquired ICOA, a wireless Internet company, for $400 million. Both Google and ICOA have since denied the acquisition, with ICOA's CEO George Strouthopoulos suggesting to Buzzfeed's John Herrman that the press release was a hoax intended to increase the stock's value so an insider, as-yet-unrevealed but apparently from Aruba, could make himself a lot of money.
This was a Hoax. We are investigating the source, so far it originated from Aruba
This is NOT TRUE!! Never had any discussions with any potential acquirers!! This is absolutely false!
Someone, I guess a stock promoter with a dubious interest, is disseminating wrong, false and misleading info in the PR circles.
ICOA will report this to the proper authorities.
The journalists who first reported the press release as a not-hoax have since updated their posts. But the act of misreporting the news has already done its damage. The penny stock spiked to five cents, likely leading to a profit in the hundres of millions of dollars range for the lone scammer, notes Herrman. In order to prevent this from happening again (it's happened before), let's take a look at some of the tell-tale signs we should have seen from the press release that might have indicated its fakery — and fended off an unfair stock-market bump.
For reference, here's the release in question (no longer on the Internet):
ICOA Has Been Acquired by Google for $400 Million
Warwick, RI (PRWEB) November 26, 2012
Google has announced its acquisition of ICOA Inc. A provider of Wi-Fi to high traffic public locations. ICOA is a leading vertically integrated, neutral-host broadband wireless Internet network provider. Their suite of services and solutions power the unique requirements of high-traffic public locations such as airports, marinas, restaurants and more, while also providing back office solutions for hotspot operators and wireless service providers. Google looks to further diversify it's already impressive portfolio of companies.
ICOA, Inc. is a national provider of wireless and wired broadband Internet networks in high-traffic public locations. ICOA provides design, installation, operation, maintenance and management of WI-FI hot-spot and hot-zone Internet access. Based in Warwick, Rhode Island, ICOA owns or operates broadband access installations in high-traffic locations across 40 states, located in airports, quick-service restaurants, hotels and motels, travel plazas, marinas etc. ICOA networks are compatible with widely-used 802.11x technology and with virtually all Internet service providers. Further information is at http://www.icoacorp.com.
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