Be Aware of Fake Medical Journal Websites

I follow a lot of health, fitness, and weight loss pages across social media pages. It is always frustrating to see articles promising impossible weight loss results for an impossibly small amount of work, but the most frustrating thing I find is fake medical journals.

It goes something like this. You are on a social media site and you see a sponsored or shared post about how someone found the secret to losing weight. You click the article and it takes you to a website that appears to be a medical academic journal of some sort, complete with other articles, databases, and a web address to tie it all together. The author of the post will likely discuss an ivy league researcher or a medical doctor that found the secret to weight loss and how cheap and easy it actually is! You will then read all about some supplement and the article will conclude with a way to purchase the product.

On the surface, it looks great. But, in reality, it is nothing short of a scam. There are a few quick ways to determine if the health journal or health news website you are reading is a fake:

  1. It is trying to sell you something other than a book or subscription to the journal. Real health journals or health news sites will not try to sell you anything except more information.
  2. The author of the article does not match the author who shared the content. People often make social media accounts impersonating a researcher and pretend their article just posted. If the name of the person in the social media account does not match the author on the website, it is probably not real.
  3. Every additional web page takes you to an order form. Before you buy something from a website, see what else they published. Click other tabs on their website and see if they are publishing real content or if the entire website is a single page.
  4. The URL has multiple web addresses. What I mean by this is the website’s URL might be something like ‘medicaljournal.org-clickly.com.’ If you see something like this, the second URL is the real website you are on. In this example, you are visiting clickly.com and not medicaljournal.org.
  5. It’s too good to be true. On average, healthy weight loss is no more than a sustained 2 pounds per week. Anything more than that should be under the supervision of your doctor and often comes from prescribed medications to supplement your nutrition and exercise plan, or surgery.

Next time you follow a link to a website that looks like a medical journal or a health news website, take a few extra seconds to scan the website for any red flags, it may be a fake. If you are thinking about purchasing anything to aid with weight loss, talk to your doctor beforehand. Some herbal supplements can react with medications you may be currently taking, making it essential for your doctor to clear you to take it.

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