By Nicholas Cucci
Fluid Pay LLC
This won't come as a surprise, but mobile devices are now the preferred way to access the Internet and make payments. Nearly 80 percent of people in the United States own a smartphone, according to Forbes magazine. This continued rise and growth of mobile payments has made companies shift strategies to a mobile-first approach.
Here are several examples of the rise of mobile from app development company CitrusBits:
Along with this massive increase in mobile devices has come a ripple effect in fraud. One popular fraud trend is click flooding, also called click poaching. This type of fraud aims to poaching organic users. When an unpaid user installs a new app, a series of clicks takes place that falsely attribute the action to that of a paid ad. This causes the advertiser to pay a click fee per user that the advertiser shouldn't be paying for it. This also disrupts analytics because the amount of organic incoming traffic becomes grossly overstated.
This combination is detrimental to marketing plans and budgets. Typically, organic users who run across your advertisement are more high-quality users who are inclined click through to see a service or product.
Another mobile fraud or poaching trend occurs only on Android devices and exploits the Install Broadcasts feature. This is where all existing apps on a phone are notified when a new app is being installed. Scammers create new free apps, and when people download them, the apps send a series of clicks to networks before the install is complete. Through this, the fraudster receives credit, and gets paid for what is more than likely an organic install.
Yet another popular fraud trend on mobile devices is SDK spoofing. This is a bot-driven strategy whereby a bot (malware) hides on the app to generate a series of simulated ad click, install and engagement signals to another location – but no real install occurs. CitrusBits found that in the first quarter of 2018 alone, 37 percent of all rejected installs were from SDK spoofing. This is becoming increasingly popular in 2019.
Not surprisingly, Stripe found that fraud rates increase during the holidays and summer back-to-school season. Interestingly, however, fraud rates do not rise notably on heavy shopping days like Black Friday, but do rise on Christmas when many people aren't shopping. Stripe also noted that fraud rates are much lower on recurring transactions that involve a subscription service or extended relationship.
Another noteworthy fraud trend is that fraud rates are increasing during "quiet times." Traffic peaks during workday hours and plummets during nocturnal hours, while fraud peaks during the lull periods of web traffic. This was not the case five years ago.
Fraudsters typically try to hit businesses that do not need to deliver a product or service linked to the buyer. Typically, on-demand services are the ones most targeted. These behaviors will only continue to evolve as we combat fraud, the type of fraud will constantly pivot to adapt to changes. If you're a merchant or ISO battling fraud here's my advice:
Nicholas Cucci is the co-founder and chief operating officer of Fluid Pay LLC and former director of marketing for NMI. Cucci is also a graduate of Benedictine University and a member of the Advisory Board and Anti-Fraud Technology Committee for the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners. Fluid Pay is a true cloud-based Level 1 PCI payment gateway processing transactions worldwide. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or 630-526-8670.
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