McWhortle Enterprises Inc. seems like the perfect investment for the post-September 11 world: a solid company, praised by analysts and customers, selling a handheld biohazard detector guaranteed to beep and flash in the presence of anthrax or other deadly germs.

Only one problem: The company doesn’t exist.

McWhortle Enterprises is a government hoax cloaked in respectability and planted on the Internet, waiting to deliver a lesson about the risks of online investing to unsuspecting consumers.
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