Fake orders. What is it, and how to deal with them
Every online store faces the problem of fake orders sooner or later. This article will discuss where fake orders can come from and how to deal with them.
What are fake orders?
Fake orders are requests that people leave in your online store without the intention of buying a product. Fraudulent orders are created for different purposes and in different ways. If such orders are repeated, the online store system suffers from this. Managers waste time processing fake tickets while serving real customers is delayed.
ECommerce fraudulent orders are only part of the more significant ad fraud problem. Fraudsters are coming up with more and more new ways to make money. For example, some programs imitate the actions of a genuine user and bypass all protection and verification systems.
In 2019, Facebook filed a lawsuit against two developers of such applications for click fraud. Developers LeonMobi and JediModi made apps that simulated user clicks on Facebook ads. In this way, the impression was created that users clicked on ads. In 2021, an agreement was reached that the companies would pay monetary compensation for click fraud.
Who leaves fake orders?
Finding the author of fake orders and his motivation is only sometimes possible. You can spend a lot of time and resources on this but have yet to find an answer. We have reviewed the options.
Attack of competitors
An attack by competitors is signaled not only by an odd number of applications with atypical orders but also by changes in user behavior, according to Google Analytics. To do this, it is vital to track eCommerce metrics, which will allow you to understand from which channel the users who leave fraudulent orders come.
The purpose of such attacks is to disrupt the operation of your online store, force you to make unnecessary calls, cancel orders and delete data from CRM. Subsequently, this will lead to poor customer service and a drop in the online store's reputation. In addition to fake orders, scammers can buy bots that will spoil behavioral indicators, which can affect rankings in Google.
Fraud from CPA networks or other advertising channels
Cost Per Action or CPA is translated as payment for the completed target action. CPA or affiliate networks drive traffic to the site, getting paid not for the number of users but for those who made the target action. For example, they left a request, contact details, or bought something. If you use different types of advertising and use the services of affiliate networks or agencies, then low-quality traffic and fake orders can come from there.
When launching advertising campaigns on social networks for lead generation, questions with pre-filled answers can be added to the instant application form. In this case, the data from the profile is substituted automatically, and users can send it randomly while scrolling through social networks. Such applications are not always fake, but most users can forget that they left their data somewhere because they were "substituted" into the form automatically.
Fraudsters can leave many applications and load the work of your online store to send you a letter at a specific moment with an offer to stop fraud for a certain amount.
How to identify false orders
There are several signs that your online store is under attack:
- a large number of orders left at a particular time, for example, at night;
- a sharp increase in orders without marketing activity;
- a chaotic set of numbers in the phone number field, random characters instead of personal data;
- identical actions of users from one traffic channel;
Evaluation of the effectiveness of methods to combat fake orders
There are various tips on the network that should save the online store from counterfeit orders. We have analyzed the most common of them and will tell you if they work and in what cases.
CAPTCHA check. It is the minimum level of protection against fake orders that bots can leave. But CAPTCHA will not protect against real people who intentionally go against counterfeit orders, and Fraudsters can easily bypass it.
Checking with SMS. Not only will this type of verification fail to protect you from fake orders that real people can leave, but it can also increase your costs. You will pay for test messages, and the more fake orders there are, the more money you will waste, and the creators of such applications will easily pass this test. The chance of losing real customers will increase.
Complex registration forms. Many fields need to be filled in, and a lot of mandatory information will scare an actual client. And for those who leave fake applications, they will be fine.
A ban by IP or User Agent. This method seems adequate, but the IP ban will not become an obstacle for those who decide to harm your online store. The IP can be easily changed using a VPN or connecting to mobile internet, which assigns a new IP with each use. By blocking specific IP addresses of a mobile provider, you can block all users of this provider who can receive the same IP. User-Agent's ban won't work because genuine people will have actual and different User Agent values.
Geolocation restrictions and prohibition of foreign traffic. Many users, for various reasons, may use a VPN all the time and not turn it off when shopping online. With such restrictions, you can lose genuine buyers from Ukraine, who, having encountered difficulties when entering an online store, will not return to it again.
The more different checks you add, the more likely it is to turn away your actual customers. At the same time, scammers will continue to make fake orders. Before adding various types of questionable checks, see if there are similar checks in popular online stores and none of them uses such restrictions and does not require SMS confirmations.
How to deal with fake orders
It is only possible to avoid altogether and solve fake orders. But several ways can help in the fight.
Use a Google service that tracks user activity and separates bots from people. Most users will not see the captcha, and "suspicious" ones will be offered to solve one of the usual tasks. For users of Good, reCAPTCHA works in all forms: registration, ordering, callback, etc.
Changing order processing processes
An effective way to combat fake orders is to redesign order processing processes. Determine the criteria by which it will be immediately apparent whether this order can be manufactured, and do not waste time processing it. A CRM system can help with this, where all data on incoming orders will be displayed. The more data you have about a potential buyer during order processing, the easier it is to distinguish a real mandate from a fake one.
Tracking advertising channels and optimizing advertising campaigns
Often fake orders come from specific advertising campaigns. Constant monitoring of indicators in advertising accounts and Google Analytics can help you figure out which campaigns are bringing low-quality traffic with fake applications. If a problem occurs, the advertising campaign should be reconfigured or disabled. For example, if suspicious activity appears after launching an ad on Facebook, disable the desktop in your ad account to display ads or experiment with targets.
If you are faced with fraudulent orders, you must deal with them correctly. It would help if you did not block users or add different verification methods because this will lead to the loss of real customers and a decrease in the number of entire orders. Analyze advertising channels, change the principle of order processing to identify fake requests, and save time processing them quickly.