My first share purchase was in the Woolworths float back in 1993. Even though direct share ownership is not part of my ideal investment philosophy I keep hold of them for sentimental and capital gains tax reasons. (Plus they have done well for me over the 16 or so years.)
I have recently received a very "kind" offer from a group called Hassle Free Share Sales to buy those shares from me at $14.23 per share. The current share value is $28.78. So what is going on here and why can groups like this get my contact details?
Hassle Free Share Sales is a company owned by the infamous David Tweed. Mr Tweed is well known for making unsolicited offers to shareholders at well below market prices. It seems that the plan is to encourage less sophisticated investors to agree to sell their shares through what seems a simple process - simply signing a form and providing contact details. Mr Tweed is legally able to access shareholding records through share registers which are available to the public and even though most of us would see his actions as unethical they are not illegal.
An interesting summary of Mr Tweed's activities can be found at Wikipedia - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Tweed
Its most likely that if you are reading this blog you are not an "unsophisticated" investor but you may know someone who might get caught out by schemes such as these. I really encourage you to spread the word and help others avoid what will turn out to be anything less than hassle free when receiving much less than the shares are valued.