How to Tell If an Online Article is Real, Fake or a Scam

Fake news, scams, and phishing are the plague of our times. It’s getting increasingly difficult to determine which websites are presenting truthful information. I’m not just talking about political views; people can disagree about those, and while you may not like what you read on certain sites, that doesn’t mean, as some like to say, “it’s fake news.”

A Stanford University study of 7,804 students from middle school through college found that some 82 percent of them cannot distinguish between an ad labeled “sponsored content” and a real news story on a website. These findings present a real risk when visiting websites you’re not familiar with; and, not just for students, for everyone. How can you know if what you’re reading online is telling the truth or trying to scam you either directly—such as by trying to sell you something, or get your personal information—or indirectly, by spreading lies, or by sowing doubt?

In this article, we offer a few tips to help you sort the wheat from the chaff on the Internet. These tips will help you determine if an online article is real, fake or a scam.

Read the rest of the article on the Mac Security Blog.

2 thoughts on “How to Tell If an Online Article is Real, Fake or a Scam

  1. Couple of quick comments … we at Safenetting and UGNN were tracking questionable news since the early 2000s. It’s NOT a new phenomena, and certainly NOT new to the Clinton/Trump race.

    Your point on “trusted” news outlets should be accurate, but it’s not. We caught all of those media outlets you mention in direct false news in the Bush and Obama elections, as well as issues like the Swift-boat debacle against Bush. (I was actually an expert witness!) And you note that issue was quickly swept under the carpet. So just because it’s the Wall Street Journal or New York Times does not mean they don’t twist, spin or even fake the news. They have political agendas too.

    You should stress to your readers the importance of patronizing web sites with true, full WhoIS entries. Since GDPR, all the shady sites have removed their info from the WhoIS or they have brokered through any of the off-shore WhoIS masking firms to evade detection. We’ve tracked seemingly legitimate memes graphics and entries on social media to the Pacific Rim, Eastern Europe, the middle East and South America. There are many other troll bots other than Russian!

    For me, the WhoIS is the best test for honesty. But alas, not always. Sad to say, people these days have become absent of any scruples what so ever. They’ll say anything and do anything for a click.

    The best test is common sense. IF it doesn’t ring true, it probably isn’t. Always ignore the hysteria in social media. 99% of that are knee-jerk reactions and fake news.

    Soon, you won’t be able to trust anything due to Deep Fake video and audio technology. Now, you can make Trump, Obama or who ever, go on TV and say anything you want them to say. (read up on it : http://bit.ly/2CDz0CZ)

    The truth is out there.

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