The Human Face of Fraud

March 29, 2021

Three years ago, I ran an on-site training for one of our best clients on the topic of data quality. The room was packed and generally people come into these kinds of training amped up over the whole topic. On that day, the client asked a lot of questions about how and why this even happens.  I answered their questions with a story around a common scenario at the time.  

I shared that fraudulent survey activity had then been connected to Venezuela. This was around the same time the global news had been reporting heavily on the food crisis there that was leaving too many hungry. Ration boxes were the norm and people were going hungry.  I asked them to consider the value of US $1.50 at the time in Venezuela.  I told that story in other rooms before, but on that day, the human side of why fraud happens really hit home for all of us.  

Fast forward to 2020 and a global pandemic puts millions out of work and locked at home (and online) all over the world, including the US.  While we don’t often think about it this way, Market Research is an $80 billion industry.  With all of that money flying around (for publishers and respondents), the face of fraud is different today. And it’s not just originating from other countries any longer.  It’s here in our own backyard as various organized fraud “farms” are doing what they can to capture a piece of MR’s $80 billion turnover.  

As a result, today’s fraud is way more complex and way more local.  But you don’t have to go about combatting it alone.  We fight the good fight all day and constantly adapt as it all evolves.

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