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Tom Edsall

Watch out for fake news outlets on the web.

Take Tom Chilton’s news story, “Millions of people without jobs, but no worries, working at home is the way to go.” There is a picture of “Tom” and his address: Tom Chilton@www.Financial-Weekly.com | www.Financial-Weekly.com Staff Reporter.

The fake news web page even identifies itself as what seems to be a real newspaper– the “Los Angeles Tribune.” URL? http://www.LosAngeles-Tribunes.com/finance/. The site even mimics a comments section (disabled, of course).

Also, don’t bother writing to Tom. Both his address and publisher, LosAngeles-Tribunes.com and Financial-Weekly.com, do not exist. The URLs lead to an Apache test page.

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The point of all this is to give the false appearance that a media outlet, legitimate writer and commenters are endorsing a product. This trickery, like its brothers and sisters before it (undisclosed infomercials and advertorials) is clearly against Federal Trade Commission (FTC) guidelines. Ads can not be falsely presented as “news” as it is deceptive and misleading.

The FTC has a detailed web site for further reading and filing complaints , “Screening Advertisements: A Guide for The Media.”

UPDATE: 09/20/09: I just saw a new version of Tom’s “news story.” It now places a disclosure label at the top of the page that states: “Advertisement.” This is a weak attempt to make this deceptive ad Kosher. However, the supposed disclosure is hardly  noticeable in the context of the ad–which is the criteria FTC judges compliance. This ad still fails FTC guidelines despite token design change.

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9 Responses

  1. Rancs says:

    Thank you. I was wondering why the www.financial-news.com url came up with a page error. Oh, it dosen’t exist! Keep exposing these frauds! If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

  2. RP says:

    Why in the hell can’t we immediately stop these fraudulent postings, sites and scammers as soon as we discover them. The leeches taking advantage of people during these difficult times should be made an example of and sentenced to the maximum prison time possible!!

  3. Rhonda Roland Shearer says:

    Thank you for your comment. I agree with you, RP and Rancs below. FTC should do something. However in order to do something, they need citizen(s) to file a compliant. Use their web site or call their 800 number. The more people complain, the more pressure for them to act. So please do write in. Refer to FTC link here to file your compliant today!

  4. XER says:

    Xer posted this comment on | Aug 2, 2009 at 08:20 PM EST–We reposted comment as was accidentally deleted.

    Yes, thank you Rhonda Roland Shearer and StinkyJournalism.org. Glad I googled it before filling in the form. Ditto on RP’s question. Why is this guy still scamming people after he has been exposed? Doesn’t the FTC do anything to EARN my blasted tax dollars?

  5. Rhonda Roland Shearer says:

    Posted Aug 3, 2009 at 08:02 AM EST

    Thank you for your comment. I agree with you, RP and Rancs below. FTC should do something. However in order to do something, they need citizen(s) to file a compliant. Use their web site or call their 800 number. The more people complain, the more pressure for them to act. So please do write in. Refer to FTC link here to file your compliant today!

  6. AltaFay says:

    Apparent Tom works in Oklahoma City, too. Go to

  7. Vera says:

    Hi, Thanks too you for trying to do something! I am furious with this guy and hoping there is a special place in hell for him. I tried to report him to the gov,/fraud site but couldn’t because none of the e-mail addresses or business name is legit. My husband has been looking for work for a year, and when a friend sent me this I was really excited. So I wish Karma’s Silver Hammer upon his head……..and really really hard!

  8. umstat says:

    Apparently he’s with the New York Tribune too! I was so excited to see this ad..but then decided to google him first..and here I am LOL !

    Unbelieveable!

  9. R Church says:

    LOL. This PAID ADVERTISEMENT in local paper The Elkhart Truth spured my intrest and curiosity. As it appeared too good to be true, and IS, when I started to look into the claim.

    The heading of Tom Chilton as working for Financial-Weekly dot com is how it is listed in the page I followed and discovered here to post this to the list of credentials he seems to be adding up.

    Thanks for this link here to lable this as the faud it is, with hopes of gaining others attention to the Massive Scams to look out for on the web. The fake article lists a person with their pic in the town I live. Very creatively I may add and convincing if you are not smart enough to research everything.

    I even called the 800 number just to get a laugh at the people on the other end that did not speak english or understand me when I asked questions about this fake company. All the opperator could do was try to follow the lists of responses that they read from in front of them, it was a great laugh to ask what the physical address of this company was. The person claimed they were not allowed to release that information. That is what they can do to hide, by elimianting your quest for who it is that this scam goes to under some claim of confidentiality of the entity that set this account up with the 1 800 services.

    I laughed at the way the operator scrambled to get out of my asking the question "if this is a legitimate company offering services why can’t you give me their physical address in order for me to verify it with the B.B.B."

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