Part 2: The Unreal Moment(s) with the Ghosts of Survey Fraud

security screen

Please review part 1 here.

As a researcher who has been fighting fraud for years, speaking with 2 fraudsters in 24 hours was surreal.  My thoughts were crystal clear – Keep it real and keep them connected for some answers. But I was able to pepper them with questions.

Why do this?  Is it really that profitable? How?  What caused you to do this activity at this level?  What slows you down?

Their answers informed me and may surprise some.  You can see a video highlight summary here. 

We also kept close attention to the things in surveys that slow them down. Here are some great examples:

15 Things Fraudsters say make their job harder

  1. In survey attention checks
  2. Static IP Checks
  3. Matching survey responses with Profile answers
  4. Open-ended questions
  5. Mathematical or any logic-based questions
  6. Older browsers being retired (they had nice security flaws)
  7. Fraud checks
  8. Survey experiences with complications
  9. Stopping to change proxies
  10. Changing devices and attributes
  11. Server trail cleanout on personal computers
  12. Routing through multiple sample engines 
  13. ID Verification
  14. Typing in OE answers
  15. Hacking long entry/exit  hashes.

After  my interviews, the next few weeks became a blur. Video summaries were well-produced by a presentation partner and revealed to the industry at ESOMAR Congress. Plaudits came quickly, but the impact these learnings can produce can’t be felt immediately.   

There is so much this industry needs to do to capitalize on this awareness.  We have turned the page on a new chapter.  We’ve seen them, they are real, and they need to be stopped at the source.  Much of our activity over the years focused on mopping up the mess, identifying the popcorn trial, removing them from the data with manual cleaning.  

We have pontificated enough about what digital signal or survey behavior will be the magic pill, but as we have seen and experienced, the magic pill doesn’t exist.  This is hard work with lots of effort and a coalescence that we have yet to see within this industry (or beyond it).  So it is with that sentiment, that OpinionRoute takes a step forward to assure the widest scope and landscape possible for awareness as well as actual mitigation steps.  

In my next post, we’ll start the transition to applying this new knowledge in our everyday work by doing some Myth busting around MR professionals’ beliefs around fraud and mitigation.  

Click here for Part 3: Myths & Truths around Survey Fraud

If you would like help with your survey data quality with the OpinionRoute ID Suite initiative, reach out here.

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