Thursday, March 08, 2007

Widespread fraud??

I found and received some very intriguing information. Are we onto a massive fraud scheme?

Check out this OCD website! Does it look familiar to you?

And who do you think is the contact address?? The same as on our stuttering website:

Galina Tchekan
1002 Montrose Ave. # 183
Chicago, IL 60613

I checked on, and there is no person with such a name living in the US with a fixed address!!

I have even more revealing information on the man behind it all!! There are some Russian links... serious! Are you curious? Well then you have to read my blog tomorrow! (Dont they do this in soaps, too! :-)


Closet Stutterer said...

Hi Tom,

I really hope we can stop this person. Did you read the "Advice" page on the stuttering site?

Talk about reinforcing the negative stigma toward stuttering. And it's a load of rubbish. She's basically saying it's not possible to communicate effectively with a stutter. I really hope no employers stumble across that site.

I'm looking forward to your next installment.


Unknown said...

This is incredible. I'll be waiting with eagerness for tomorrow's entry. (You love that, don't you? *laugh*)

Unknown said...

Ah, I messed up. I emailed the guy informing him that I was contacting the FDA and the he's taken the word "cure" off of his site. Still, the combination of both sites can be strong evidence of fraud.

Tom Weidig said...

YOU MAILED THE GUY????? Oh my god! I think you better emigrate to Europe. He is Russian....

Unknown said...

Should I be worried?

Anonymous said...

He has a third site for generalized anxiety disorder too.

We could also inform paypal of his activities as he uses them to collect his $93. I am not sure what thier policy is, but they are a reputable company. Without paypal as the middle man some may be less likely to purchase his therapies.

Jerome said...

Great Tom! Take the a**hole down!

Ora said...

I have a contrarian point of view. I'm NOT outraged by these sites.

Everyone knows that the Internet is full of junk. No one thinks that everything they read is true and reliable. There's a familiar tone of ad that "I'm a savior, I'm a good person, the government doesn't want you to know, etc. etc." (There are 100 other clues... but they're familiar and recognizable.) People recognize it when they see it. Most sensible people know the style and discount 99% of it. It's characterized by exaggerated wording, unsourced claims, claims for "cures", lack of reference to credible research. Other clues are use of the terms "natural remedies" and "homeopathic remedies"; lengthy, rambling descriptions; testimonies and anecdotes; incredible claims.

Who in their right mind would believe statements like "You will see the results immediately or you will see the results one week or so from administering natural medicine remedies. " or "he results will vary. They will range from a very significant improvement in your speech to almost total or total fluency. The results are sustained." ?

The truth is that there is a segment of the public which is vulnerable to this sort of marketing. People do buy $14.99 miracle cooking devices that are advertised on middle-of-the-night infomercials on TV. People do buy stuff from cheap health food magazines. People actually believe self-styled "financial advisors" who promise to double your investment in six months. And loads and loads of people are suspicious of authority and doctors.

We've had junk mail (hardcopy) for many years. We've had ads for "patent remedies" (in the US, Carter's Little Liver Pills) for centuries, we now have email spam and websites. What's new about this? This is part of our world. Sensible people recognize this stuff effortlessly and ignore it or are amused at it, and vulnerable people take it seriously.

The main remedy for this is improved education, particularly in critical reading, plus science education. I also think that the government could do a better job in policing or regulating these sites to require credible backing for claims of efficacy. Or (here's where some of you will part paths with me), PERMIT the junk, permit the untested claims, but require it to be labeled as junk. ("THE US GOVERNMENT RECOMMENDS THAT YOU NOT PURCHASE UNTESTED PRODUCTS." or something like that.) Don't ban them; "out" them.

Unfortunately a Republich congress (US) maybe 10-15 years ago weakened the control over "natural remedies". That's another area for potential improvement.

Ora said...

P.S. to my previous note: the words "alternative remedy" are also a tip-off. (And they are present on these sites.) "Alternative remedies" to me typically mean, lower standards of proof, or no proof at all. If a medication was demonstrably effective, it wouldn't have to be an "alternative remedy". And it's also an emotional "code word" which appeals to the large segment of the population that mistrust authority and the medical establishment. Many people prefer alternative/natural/homeopathic remedies. This marketplace (quack therapies) is driven by demand, not just by supply.

Tom Weidig said...

Dear Ora,

you might not be outraged by such websites, because you are well-informed and know that the website is making wrong promises.

However, the existence of the website and the fact that he created 2 more seems to suggest that he find people who send money.

I do not know whether you stutter or not. But imagine you feel very isolated, frustrated, and are not well informed. You jump on such promises. And so do parents or grand parents.

We need to clean the web from such misinformation, and direct them to well-informed and honest sites. I am not trying to become Holy Inquisitor, but I certainly want websites promising a cure to be taken down.

Best wishes,


Rae Ann said...

It sure does look like one of those internet marketing schemes. Your detective work is impressive!