The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission announced on Wednesday it has launched a mock ICO called HoweyCoin. The fake company states that the offer isn't real and users who try to invest in the token sale will instead be redirected to the regulator's education tools, which are aimed at pointing out the signs of fraudulent token sales.
According to the HoweyCoin website, most travel businesses require processing, centralized currency, and most importantly, nickel and dime fees that add up to literally billions. The fake company states that it is different because it utilizes the latest crypto-technology to allow travelers to purchase all segments without these limitations, allowing HoweyCoin users to buy, sell, and trade in a frictionless environment.
In a press release, the SEC also noted that the site includes a white paper with a complex yet vague explanation of the investment opportunity, promises of guaranteed returns, and a countdown clock that shows time is quickly running out on the deal of a lifetime.
Owen Donley, chief counsel of the SEC's Office of Investor Education and Advocacy, said that the site incorporates many of the hallmarks of fraudulent token sales - pertinent information for investors looking to avoid financial pitfalls.
Donley added that fraudsters can quickly build an attractive website and load it up with convoluted jargon to lure investors into phony deals, but fraudulent sites also often have red flags that can be dead giveaways if you know what to look for.