A PRESS RELEASE posted to PRWeb that said that Google had bought a wireless internet provider for $400m was a hoax.
The press release was short in content and appeared on PRWeb yesterday. It looked fairly official but had some subtle problems. For example, there were two versions of the spelling of the word WiFi in it.
We contacted ICOA CEO George Strouthopoulos last night and he confirmed that the press release was a hoax. He didn't sound too happy about it either.
"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!" he wrote.
"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."
We are waiting for Google to respond, and have already asked PRWeb how a fake release could have been posted to its website. It did not respond to us, but it has posted a statement to its website.
"PRWeb transmitted a press release for ICOA that we have since learned was fraudulent. The release was not issued or authorized by ICOA. Vocus reviews all press releases and follows an internal process designed to maintain the integrity of the releases we send out every day," it said.
"Even with reasonable safeguards identity theft occurs, on occasion, across all of the major wire services. We have removed the fraudulent release and turned the matter over to the proper authorities for further investigation."
The listing is still on PRWeb, although Mr Strouthopoulos told The INQUIRER that it was expected to be removed yesterday evening.
While we do not know who was behind the false press release, or the reasons why, it appears to have been part of a typical pump and dump stock scam. µ