We’ve all heard about the rise of “fake news,” but what about false or fraudulent statistical data?
Many people see seemingly reputable research papers or graphs from apparently worthy sources and assume the data is correct and wholly true — but that’s not always the case.
Continue reading to learn about several indicators that the data you’ve found online could be false or fraudulent.
1. Biased sponsorships
Before you get deep into online data, always check the fine print. If the study was sponsored by a group or company that could achieve financial gain from the results, take it with a grain of salt. These kinds of research projects that include potentially biased sponsors may bring skewed results.
Biased sponsorships are especially common in the medical industry when particular sponsors pay significant amounts of money to facilitate the research. It is often difficult for medical researchers to secure required funding, but there’s evidence that when health industry representatives sponsor drug or device studies, the results are more likely to favor those sponsors.
2. Small sample sizes
Some data comes from very small sample sizes, and the researchers involved don’t bother to make that crucial fact clear. Small sample sizes might make it hard to reproduce the same results again in similar settings, thus providing a skewed impression about the importance of the data in question.
If you saw a television commercial boasting that four out of five survey respondents said they preferred a new brand of shampoo instead of what they were using before, you might be tempted to run out to your nearest supermarket and pick up a bottle. But, what if a flash of tiny text at the bottom of your TV screen revealed the sample size of survey respondents consisted of only 50 people?
The shampoo may still be a potentially good buy, but the statistics aren’t as amazing if you learn so few people took part in the study. Some research experts recommend dealing with small sample sizes by incorporating results from previous trials of the same product into the most recent results.
3. Material that was potentially seized in a data leak and manipulated
Fraudulent data is becoming so prevalent that University of Washington instructors are now offering a course in how to spot it, which may someday be available to everyone online.
What’s also becoming more common in our society? Data leaks. There are many things organizations can and should do to stop information from being compromised in a data leak, especially if they are prone to high-profile hacks.
As a consumer of information, you owe it to yourself to dig deep into available resources and find out if the publisher of a given study has been in the news lately due to a recent hacking incident. If it has, there’s a chance that information has fallen into the wrong hands and been changed by hackers for their own benefit.
4. Data that indicates very high rewards for investors
Fake data can also cause people to become victims of investment scams, especially if they’re studying the stock market and deciding which companies deserve their attention as they buy stocks.
One of the most popular scams is what’s known as the “pump and dump.” In this scenario, criminals buy lots of stocks associated with a relatively obscure company, then start flooding the Internet with false press releases or blog posts about how that business is just about to make a major breakthrough or do something else that’ll make stock prices rise.
Once the stock prices reach their peak, the perpetrators sell the stocks for hefty profits. That makes the stock prices plummet and means all fellow investors lose money quickly. It’s best to study investment trends over a prolonged period and make sure the data you see matches up with supplementary research. If something promises extremely high returns, it may be too good to be true.
The information here should at least help you become more aware as you allow statistics and other kinds of data to sink into your brain.
It may also prevent you from getting scammed or being misled into purchasing something that’s not as great as it seemed.
DISCLAIMER: This article expresses my own ideas and opinions. Any information I have shared are from sources that I believe to be reliable and accurate. I did not receive any financial compensation in writing this post, nor do I own any shares in any company I’ve mentioned. I encourage any reader to do their own diligent research first before making any investment decisions.
FTX Bankruptcy: How Sam Bankman Fried’s Lawyers Want to Avoid Him from Life Imprisonment
Sam Bankman Fried, the former CEO of the collapsed FTX empire, may face a life sentence. His defense strategy revolves...
Banking Shares Represent Half of the Investments of Spaniards in the Ibex 35
During last year, the volume of purchases by retail investors of Ibex 35 shares was 20.6 billion euros and the...
Bitcoin, Soon an ATH of 70,000: Investors also FOMO These 5 Cryptos
With Bitcoin's recent performance, many investors are anticipating that the crypto could reach a new high before its next halving....
Vytrus Biotech Plans to Triple Sales and Reach 12 Million in 2027
Vytrus Biotech projects that by 2027, 60% of its revenue will be derived from its current plant stem cell business,...
Burkina Faso: The Social Responsibility of African Companies Debated at an International Forum
Executive Education Africa (IFG) in partnership with the National Council of Burkinabè Employers (CNPB) is organizing, this Wednesday, February 28th,...
Cannabis1 week ago
What EMCDDA Changes to the Cannabis Law in the European Union Mean for the Industry
Business2 days ago
11 SEO Trends You Need to Know About in 2024
Business2 weeks ago
Inflation: Cost of Eating Out Continues To Rise, a Potential Boon for Restaurant Discounters Like Restaurant.com
Cannabis1 week ago
Czech Republic Bans HHC: New Regulations Change the Market