The Ebola and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) contagions are giving birth to investor scams, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority warned late last week.

In an investor alert, Finra said it’s aware of several potential investment scams involving companies that claim to be developing ways of stifling the spread of the viruses.

"Investors should be very cautious of any company that claims it is poised for dramatic growth as a result of a purported cure or treatment for high-profile viral diseases," said Gerri Walsh, Finra's senior vice president for investor education.

The plan of attack typically being used by the Ebola scammers involves the time-tested "pump and dump.” Unwary investors are seduced with aggressive and optimistic statements about the business through press releases, e-mails and other promotions intended to create demand for the companies' stock shares (the pump). Once the share price and volume spike, the cons behind the scam sell off their shares at a profit, leaving investors with worthless, or near-worthless, stock (the dump).