Ad Scammer Strikes Vegas Stations
A person with what appears to be extensive knowledge about how TV stations sell air time, and how clients buy it, looks to have scammed multiple Las Vegas TV stations with bogus spot buys. Using the name Tyler Hilman, a person contacted KLAS via email, with an email address similar in format to that of the PHD agency that KLAS frequently deals with. He said he was looking into potential local avails on behalf of Netflix, and worked out a price and a run on KLAS.
The ad that ran turned out to be not for Netflix, but for a memorabilia dealer with the website everymemorabilia.com– which routes users to neautograph.com. Neautograph.com describes itself as “a domestic and international provider of hand signed authentic memorabilia,” run by Peter Boyde. The campaign ran on KLAS for a week, and Tyler Hilman did not pay for the spots.
Efforts to reach Tyler Hilman at the email and phone number he gave KLAS were not returned.
KLAS GM Emily Neilson said a spot from a new advertiser is more carefully vetted, but the process is not as rigid for a spot coming from a trusted ad partner such as PHD.
Neilson believes the perpetrator likely comes from within the industry. “The person knows enough about the industry to dupe clients into fraudulent buys,” she says. “We want others to watch out so they don’t get into the same situation.”
Neautograph.com mentions offices in New York and Huntington Beach on its site. An email inquiry was not returned at presstime, and no phone number for neautograph is given on the site.
Ad sales vets have reason to be suspicious of neautograph.com, as it pops up on the consumer watchdog site ripoffreport.com, and receives an F rating from Better Business Bureau in New York and California.
Calls to other Vegas stations were not returned at presstime, though one station staffer across town from KLAS was familiar with the scammer and his m.o.
“We just have to be that much more careful given the electronic age,” says Neilson.
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Michael Malone, senior content producer at B+C/Multichannel News, covers network programming, including entertainment, news and sports on broadcast, cable and streaming; and local broadcast television. He hosts the podcasts Busted Pilot, about what’s new in television, and Series Business, a chat with the creator of a new program, and writes the column “The Watchman.” He joined B+C in 2005. His journalism has also appeared in The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Playboy and New York magazine.
By Jens Koerner