Helping you balance your online life

Aug 30th


Diet Ads: To Click or Not To Click?

diet concept word cloud...

We've all seen them before. Online ads claiming to have the cure for weight loss, complete with before and after photos showing the potential impact their product or program could have on your body. Plenty of weight loss websites that consumers will visit are safe and secure, but some of these sites could be attempting to steal your personal information.

The abundance of these advertisements and the desire to educate people about their potential risks inspired Intel to conduct the study "Online Security Diet: You Are What You Click" examining the online behaviors and attitudes of Americans ages 21 to 54 toward dieting clickbait. With this study, Intel Security highlights the various ways cybercriminals take advantage of consumer interest around diets and health programs and educates them on how to best protect themselves from potential threats. Take a look at the findings below and some tips on how to better protect yourself.

Study findings include:

Promotional Links

  • 61% of survey respondents (ages 21-54) have clicked on a promotional link that offers a diet program/product/tips.
  • 57% of people surveyed would most likely click on a promotional link for a diet program/products/tips before the summer.
  • 37% of respondents are more likely to click on a promotional link/dietary tip article featuring or endorsed by a celebrity.
  • Survey respondents use the internet more than magazines or word of mouth to stay up to date on the latest weight, health and body issues.
Security and Trust
  • The majority of survey respondents (88%) that click on promotional links consider that they could be spam/malware.
  • 30% of survey respondents have purchased a service or product from a promotional link without knowing whether or not it's a secure site.
  • Survey respondents would be likely to click on a promotional link for a diet program/product/tip on a Google search (47%), Facebook (42%), website (31%) or within an app that they already use (28%).
  • 35% of respondents don't know how to check if a website is secure before providing payment details or personal information.
Sharing Information
  • Many respondents are willing to share information like email address (65%), full name (51%) or age (50%) with a website/service/company in hopes of reaching their goal weight/dream body.
How can you avoid falling into a trap?
  • Be wary of any emails, advertisements, or websites that are offering a diet that sounds too good to be true. If you don't trust the link, don't click it!
  • If a website is asking you for personal information like your email, name or credit card number, double check the name of the website and make sure it is one that you can trust (see next bullet).
  • Find out if a website is trustworthy. Double check the URL and make sure that it is exactly the URL you intended to visit. Use Google Safe Browsing to determine whether a site has had problems with malware in the past. Type in this link followed by the URL you want to check:
  • Make sure your security software is up to date. Security Software protects your computer from cyber-attacks.