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2. The act of impersonating a person, usually over the Internet, with the intention of gaining access to another's personal or financial information. It is a means of identity theft.
Some market analysts maintain that the increased volatility in stock markets may be the result of an illegal practice known as spoofing, or phantom bids.
To spoof, traders who own shares of a certain stock place an anonymous buy order for a large number of shares of the stock through an electronic communications network (ECN). Then they cancel, or withdraw, the order seconds later.
As soon as the order is placed, however, the price jumps. That's because investors following the market closely enter their own orders to buy what seems to be a hot stock and drive up the price.
When the price rises, the spoofer sells shares at the higher price, and gets out of the market in that stock. Investors who bought what they thought was a hot stock may be left with a substantial loss if the price quickly drops back to its prespoof price.
Spoofing is a variant of the scam known as pump and dump.