Fake news. There's been a lot of discussion about it recently. While bogus stories and advertising cloaked as stories have been around for a long time, the Internet and now social media have helped to spread them quickly to more people. Being skeptical about the news or any information is a good idea no matter the source.

Being skeptical about the news or any information is a good idea no matter the source.

These tips can help you separate fake from real.

  • Read past the headline. Headlines are written to get your attention but they may not reflect what's in the article.

  • Check if the story was reported by other sources. Use a search engine to look for them. If it's based on other news stories, does it include links to original sources? If it does, check these sources out; if not, find the original source of the information. Are all the quotes correct or were they taken out of context?

  • If it's a site, read the "About Us" section. What are the staff's credentials? Red flags include no about us section, lack of specifics about who they are, and a section that raises more questions than it answers.

  • Does it present both sides? Pros and cons, agree and disagree, for and against, support and oppose are some of the many ways news can be presented.

  • Don't trust photos. Photos can be taken from other sites; so do an image search. Save the image or take a screenshot and crop out everything but the image. Go to Google Images and drag the image/screenshot into the search field. The results should tell you who or what is pictured and where it originated.

  • Look at the domain name and full URL. Using a domain name or URL that is similar to a legitimate site is a favorite ploy. Another is spoofing the URL of a legitimate site by using an unusual ending such as .com.co.

For More Information

These articles have more tips: