How to Stay Vigilant Against Fraud
It has never been more important for affiliates to watch out for fraud than it is today. With a spike in online activity and e-commerce in 2020, so too has there been a startling rise in fraud cases.
The threat is real according to a report from a survey of Certified Fraud Experts. One research director in that report is quoted as seeing no stop to the recent uptick: “Ninety-two percent expect they’re going to see even more fraud over the next 12 months. As we talk about the wake of COVID-19, we’re not just talking about the near future. We’re looking at over the next year. At least in terms of fraud risk, this is going to continue to have an impact.”
Fraud can come in many forms for affiliate marketers, with a variety of negative effects. It’s important that affiliates keep up on the threats they face—and how they can stay vigilant.
Why Fraud Matters
Bad actors can have wreak havoc on an affiliate marketer’s business if left unguarded. It begins with the simple question of affiliate traffic and the need to focus on quality as well as quantity. If an affiliate is bringing in a high volume of leads, but a large percentage of the leads is revealed to be fraudulent, then those impressive traffic numbers lose their luster.
Too much fraud can have a negative impact. One such concern is a spike in chargebacks that result from multiple instances of fraud faced by consumers. Fraudulent leads can also have a corrosive effect on the relationship between affiliates, affiliate networks, and advertisers.
For affiliates, fraud issues will end up wasting time and resources, and could even incur costly fines. The bottom line is that there is too much on the line to have a casual attitude against fraud. Vigilance and protection are critical to steering clear of future problems.
What to Watch For
So what does an affiliate marketer need to watch out for? Fraud can come in many shapes and sizes, but here are a few things to watch out for.
Unusually Overperforming Campaigns
It can be a pleasant surprise when a campaign starts performing better than ever expected. But it’s important to take any success spikes with a grain of salt, especially if the gains are particularly inexplicable. A surge in your California campaign when it’s 3am on the west coast? That certainly seems fishy.
It could be a sign of affiliate fraud. If you spot such events occurring, it would be wise to log into your system and investigate further.
One tactic of fraud perpetrators is to create a number of URLs that are just a type away from your affiliate site. Unsuspecting users may be greeted with what appears to be your site but is actually a dummy site set up to take people’s money.
Users can get taken advantage of by these “hijacked” URLs but then come to you once the scam is perpetrated, causing headaches and more.
Scammers may also rip off your brand materials to create invasive “loyalty” software that promises special promotions or deals that are just a front. Again, this runs the risk of making it seem as thought it is your business that is ripping people off. It’s vital for affiliates to be on the lookout for these kinds of scams, as they can hurt your reputation.
The threat of fraud looms large over the work of affiliates: being aware of the possibilities and staying vigilant is an important step all affiliates should take. Working with a trusted affiliate network like Zero Parallel can also help you keep bad actors at bay. Zero Parallel gives you the expertise of our dedicated account managers and access to technology that can help you guard against fraud.