Avoiding Web-Based Health Scams and Marketing Techniques
Clinicians should be aware of internet-based health scams and marketing techniques when they develop health promotion activities, researchers recently noted after conducting a recent study.
Investigators looked to identify and categorize such scams in Canada in an effort to create a taxonomy based on internet searches. They developed a 5-step Delphi approach to establish consensus about the taxonomy.
Researchers identified 5 core areas of activity: body image products, medical products, alternative health services, healthy lifestyle products, and diagnostic testing services. Scammers were found to rely on social expectations and psychological persuasion techniques to target consumers. Persuasion techniques included social engagement, claims of miraculous effects, scarcity, and the use of pseudoscientific language.
Shigeyasu C, Yamada M, Kawashima M, et al. Internet health scams-Developing a taxonomy and risk-of-deception assessment tool. [Published online ahead of print September 6, 2018]. Health Soc Care Community. doi: 10.1111/hsc.12643.