The fake personal finance expert who duped business reporters
Syndicated personal finance columnist Chuck Jaffe writes about a fictitious personal finance expert called “Patricia Russell” who convinced multiple business journalists to include her in stories.
Jaffe writes, “She was cited in articles by writers for MarketWatch.com, U.S. News and World Report, Consumer Reports, Business Insider and many others. She was all over the personal-finance blogs.
“The advice she was giving wasn’t particularly unique or helpful, but it also wasn’t real.
“Russell was a fake, a figment of imagination, somebody’s bad idea of a way to market a web site.
“No one seems to know exactly who she is – her pictures online were stock photos, not actual personal shots — but the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards has no record of her, and her web site shuttered seemingly within minutes of when personal-finance writer Casey Bond revealed the hoax in a July 26 story for the Huffington Post. (https://www.huffpost.com/entry/patricia-russell-cfp-fake-finance-blogger_l_5d38f4f4e4b020cd994e447d)
“While there is no way to know with certainty if anyone lost money following Russell’s fake advice, her comments tended to be benign and unexciting. Truth be told, every story in which she appeared seems to be an example of a journalist or blogger getting lazy while writing uninspired copy, which made them vulnerable to a hoax based on quick quotes and sound bites designed to draw web traffic.”
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