How to Spot Fake News and Bad Advice Online - Refresh Financial

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How to Spot Fake News and Bad Advice Online


Incorrect information, especially when it comes to advice and news about credit, wealth and general financial security, can lead you down a damaging path. So, today, we want to talk to you about real content vs. fake content, and how to figure out whether you should trust your source on the internet. This will protect you from following bad advice about your money.

Just a couple of weeks ago, Facebook announced it would be taking steps to get rid of what it referred to as, “fake news” from user feeds. Recently, fake news websites have overloaded the feeds on many different social networks, as well as search engines like Google. These sites attempt to look and behave like recognizable news outlets, duping readers into trusting the source.

If you’re working hard to build your credit, save your money and plan for a secure financial future, don’t risk it all believing the wrong advice. Do your research. Find the truth.

Consider the source’s address

If the address ends in a weird extension, such as .su or .co, you should be immediately suspicious. Even if you see a legitimate news source’s name in the address, the extension will usually give away whether or not this is the official website, or an imposter.

Consider what is to be gained

For instance, if you’ve found yourself reading a story that claims you can start making $30,000 a month from home, as long as you buy in up front for $5,000, it’s pretty obvious what’s going on. If you believe the claim (you can make $30,000 per month from home using their system) they gain financially. It’s not always this obvious and there are a lot of claims, especially when it comes to health, beauty and money, that aren’t as outlandish as the example I chose. If you can see that the author is gaining from you believing their claims, though, chances are there isn’t much truth to them.

Consider the headline

Is it sensational? Too good to be true? Shocking? Is your gut telling you something might not be quite right? Chances are the feelings you’re having about the headline are justified. Sometimes just reading beyond the headline will clarify that the actual news being reported isn’t quite as shocking as the headline made it seem. However, if you’re still unsure, there are websites out there that have been built specifically to help you decipher between what is true, and what is not. and are two such sites.

Consider the author

It’s pretty easy to Google people and find out more about them. You’ll spot a fake right away if you take ten seconds to do this.

Consider the evidence

Can you find anyone else backing up the story? Is anyone talking about it on Twitter? Reddit? If the story has citations, check them. Click the links the author offers as sources.

Consider the reporting website

If it’s The Onion, you’ve been had. The Onion is perhaps the most well-known satire site out there, but there are plenty more full of stories that people believe day in and day out. A quick visit to the site’s About Us page ought to save you the embarrassment of sharing it like it’s true.

Consider the date

Is the piece from some time in the past? Often old stories get passed on as new ones because the sharers aren’t checking the dates.

Here’s the thing, though: Even if you’ve done your homework and considered all seven points above, it still doesn’t necessarily mean the content is telling you the truth. So, the lesson here is simple. Don’t take anything you read on the internet as gospel, unless and until you can find lots of supporting evidence from good, solid, trustworthy sources. Especially when it comes to your finances.

What are some other signs an internet source is surely fake? Let us know in the comments!

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