How to detect misleading advertising on the internet? Tips to avoid falling into the trap

Misleading advertising on the internet

Have you heard about misleading advertising on the Internet? Would you be able to identify it? While browsing, it is normal for advertisements to appear offering products or services of all kinds. Companies use advertising, on and off the Internet, to try to persuade the public and convince them to buy what they sell. With everything, Some businesses manipulate their ads with half-truths to trap the unwary..

The consequences of being deceived by Internet advertising go beyond simple disappointment. It not only makes us waste time and money, but can also have negative effects on our physical and emotional health. That is why it is so important to learn how to detect misleading advertising so as not to fall victim to its 'charms'. Next, we will delve into some important details related to this topic that will help you be warned.

What is false advertising?

Untrustworthy advertisements

In order to know how to detect misleading advertising on the Internet, it is necessary to understand what it is and what it is used for. In short, it is a form of commercial communication that uses false, exaggerated or incomplete information to induce consumers to buy a product or service. The detail is that said product or service does not fulfill what it promises, and the consumer loses.

In such a way that false advertising is nothing more than another type of scam or fraud used on the internet, only in a more hidden way. In fact, Most of the time we are not aware that we are facing a fraudulent advertisement.. This type of deception can occur in various ways, such as:

  • Use manipulated photos or videos that do not reflect the reality of the product or service.
  • Making claims that are not supported by scientific evidence or clinical studies.
  • Hide or minimize the risks, side effects or contraindications of the product or service.
  • Offer prices, offers or conditions that are not maintained at the time of purchase.
  • Use missing or purchased testimonials from people who have supposedly used the product or service successfully.

Currently, companies and businesses resort to these dishonest advertisements to try to sell more, but they are not the only ones. Those who offer products on buying and selling portals, such as Wallapop or eBay, could also use misleading advertising.. So we are increasingly exposed to this type of scam, and it is essential to know how to detect it.

What is misleading advertising used for?

Young man watching advertisements in a metropolis

Evidently, whoever is behind these fraudulent advertisements intends to deceive or confuse consumers. The idea is that they think they have found an unmissable offer, and convince themselves that they should buy the product or service in question. But the reality is different, and The buyer will end up being disappointed, losing money and even putting their health at risk..

People or companies that resort to misleading advertising do so with at least three objectives in mind:

  • Get an advantage over the competition. They want to stand out at all costs and to do so they use exaggerated statements.
  • Capture the attention of potential customers, who may not buy at that time, but who will surely return later for more.
  • Increase sales, regardless of whether the product really works or adequately satisfies a real need.

Tips to know if advertising is misleading

Detect fraudulent advertising

Let's now review some tips to know if a certain advertising advertisement on the internet is misleading or not. If you want to avoid falling into this type of scam, It is important that you be critical and responsible when informing yourself about the products or services that interest you. Being defensive is your best weapon to identify misleading advertising and avoid it. If you see any of the following in an ad, think twice before clicking on it:

confusing information

Misleading advertising uses ambiguous, imprecise or exaggerated language to present the product or service as something that is not. For example, an ad that says a shampoo “repairs damaged hair” without specifying the type of damage, how it repairs it, or what scientific evidence supports it.

Does not indicate additional costs

Another sign of fraudulent advertising occurs when the extra expenses involved in the purchase or contract are hidden or minimized, such as taxes, shipping costs, commissions, retention costs, etc. Imagine, for example, an advertisement that offers a trip at a very low price, but does not mention that you have to pay separately for transportation, accommodation, tourist taxes, etc. Too good to be true!

Misleading advertising discredits the competition

Discrediting the competition to sell more is in itself an undesirable and low-class business practice. How much more if it is done through unfair or false comparisons between one's own product and that of the competition! If an ad highlights the negative aspects of the latter and the positive aspects of the former, it is almost certainly fraudulent advertising. And even if it is not, in reality that advertisement does not deserve your credibility. Better look for another one!

Results impossible to achieve

If an advertisement exaggerates the benefits or features of a product, without having scientific evidence or real testimonies to support it, it is spam! For example, they offer you a cream that claims to eliminate wrinkles in a week, or a supplement that claims to increase intelligence by 50%. The lie is so obvious that hardly anyone would believe it, but it illustrates well the point we want to make.

Images that do not correspond to reality

Filters and more filters! Misleading advertising on the internet often uses digital tools to retouch images, so don't trust a pretty photo. A clear example would be the image of a hamburger that looks juicy and appetizing in the advertisement, but is actually dry and small.

Overly presumptuous reviews

In fraudulent advertising, it is common for the advertiser to write a presumptuous review of the product or service. Perhaps you praise him excessively and say nothing about his defects or limitations.. Nothing is perfect, so don't believe, for example, a hotel review that has only positive opinions and ignores other guests' complaints.

Not putting the conditions in sight

This means that the advertisement hides or minimizes relevant information that the consumer should know before purchasing the product or service. An example: a phone company offers an unlimited data plan at a very low price. However, it does not mention that the service is reduced after consuming a certain number of megabytes, or that the price is only valid for a limited time and then increases considerably. That is not right!

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