On Monday, PRWeb published a press release that claimed Google had purchased a wireless internet service provider called ICOA for $400 million. Many outlets reported on it, but we later learned the whole thing was bogus. PRWeb then officially came out with a response to what happened.
PRWeb released the following statement on its site:
“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. 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 general web consensus is that someone created this fake press release as part of a “pump and dump” scheme. This basically means someone makes a company look more appealing than what it really is by creating fake news releases or performing other actions to get investors to buy the company’s stock. The perpetrators then sell that stock after its price has risen.