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How do I know if something is fake?

Boy on mobile device trying to decide what is fake and what is real online.


Some things online can trick us

Here are some things online that could be fake or designed to trick us:

  • A news story that does not tell the truth or is not based on facts.
  • A website that looks like a real business or app but is really trying to steal your money or personal information.
  • An image that does not tell the whole story — it might be cropped or altered in some way to leave out important information.
  • Someone who pretends to be someone else online. See things to watch out for with online friends for more info. 

Look for clues that something is fake:

Be an online detective.

  1. Ask lots of questions — question what you see and read online.

  2. Check information — if you think a news story or something online is fake, check it by doing your own web searches. Look to see if the same facts are repeated in other news stories.

  3. Check images — if you think an image or video might be fake or not tell the whole story, search online to see if there are different versions of the same image.

  4. Correct the story — if your friends are spreading fake info or news online and you know the real story, share it with them.

  5. Is it too good to be true? — if a website or story is hard to believe, or it offers you prizes or something for free, then it probably is fake.

  6. Are things not adding up? — if the way someone chats online doesn’t match their profile and who they say they are, talk to your mum, dad, carer or an adult you trust.

    Learn more about things to watch out for with online friends.


Talk to someone

  • If you are unsure if something is fake, ask your mum, dad, carer or teachers. Together you can work out if it’s real or fake.
  • Talking about it can also help you see things from a different viewpoint or angle.

Last updated: 01/12/2019