The use of online surveys in the B2B world is on the rise as companies seek to gather information about their customers and prospects to make better decisions. However, when it comes to fraud detection and prevention, survey response rates can be adversely affected if respondents believe that their responses may be used for this purpose.
With more and more surveys moving online, the percentage of invalid responses continues to increase, making it difficult to understand customer sentiment accurately. In fact, according to research, about one in five surveys contains fraudulent data.
But what are the potential reasons for this to happen? Let’s take a look!
How to identify fraudulent panelists?
When accurately portraying your customer base, there’s no substitution for a good survey. However, if you’re not careful, you might end up with inaccurate results due to fraudulent panelists.
Some signs that a panelist may not be trustworthy include:
- being registered on multiple survey panels
- refusing to answer screening questions
- providing fake contact information
Fraudulent panelists may also attempt to game the system by answering questions quickly or selecting all answers that agree with them.
Another way to determine if a panel is fraudulent is to compare the demographics of the panel with those of your target audience. If there is a significant mismatch, the panel was likely created artificially.
If someone claims to be from a particular city, but their IP address shows they are located in a different city, that could be a red flag.
Today, a fraud panelist has many skill sets to deceive you:
- They can access mailing address directories that allow them to masquerade as real people living at an actual address.
- They have many options to obtain free email addresses that do not ask for identification documents.
- IP addresses can be faked to prevent traps that create checks for duplication.
They can create smart software programs known as “bots”. These computer programs utilize programmed scripts to perform various activities without a user hitting a single key.
How do these fraudsters execute this, and what’s the motive behind it?
High-quality data reporting continues to rise, and fraudulence designers are looking for new ways to exploit weaknesses in the navigation of survey incentives. There are various tools that these fraudsters take into account. Some of which are:
Updated Bots: Advances in artificial intelligence have enabled bots to bypass confusing answers and even resist commonly employed red herring questions. Consequently, bots engaged in surveys can satisfy basic interview questions according to market research standards, so basic length of interview (LOI) parameters and quality of the conversation won’t suffice for discerning an artificial bot from a human being.
Click Farms: Fraudsters now use numerous devices concurrently, cashing in on survey rewards on a large scale. These new methods now render standard IP identification and fingerprint search redundant, as each device has a unique SIM card and modified IP address.
Signing up multiple times for an online panel, creating numerous email accounts, and creating programs to navigate through B2B surveys are all strategically aimed at qualifying for extra incentives. This is often paid through online claim codes or other digital rewards instead of mailing a paycheck to a physical address.
How can you safeguard your B2B online surveys from such fraudulent panelists?
On average, your survey’s results can be influenced by 17% of false data. You should detect, filter, and counteract incorrect entries in future surveys to protect your research from bogus data. Here’s what else you can do to safeguard your B2B online surveys from fraud and detect incorrect information:
Detect multiple responses and prevent them
Enabling a limit on responses can help to ensure that your questionnaires do not end up with invalid answers. You can discourage false responses and build protection against scammers with one response per participant.
When selecting a survey platform, look for options such as:
One response per one email: You can use this toggle option to limit one response per email address. Once someone has responded to a survey using a specific email address, they will not have access to use it again for that particular survey.
One response per unique URL: When you use this option, you can collect just one response via one unique URL. You can safeguard your survey by formulating a parameterized generated link.
One response per device: If a participant completes the survey from a particular device, they can no longer re-access it to record their response from that device.
Make use of captcha
One of the best ways to prevent fraudulent responses, especially in B2B online surveys, is to enable a captcha. They are commonly used to prevent automated bots from completing online forms and effectively reduce response rates from illegitimate sources.
Provide open-ended comment sections
Phone survey takers often use plagiarized text to fit the information into the survey from various sources that don’t comply with the survey topic. They might even copy an exact sample of the survey question. Pay special attention to all comments irrelevant to the survey’s contents. Check each comment section for plagiarism, irrelevance, and nonsensical spellings like thr$%&it.
Include device fingerprinting
Device fingerprinting is the process of identifying a computing device using its unique hardware identifiers, such as a Media Access Control (MAC) address, International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI), or Global Positioning System (GPS) coordinates. Device fingerprinting can track online behavior, eliminate survey frauds, and improve website response rates.
Fraudulent responses can artificially inflate or deflate the collected data, distorting the survey results and misleading decision-makers. With device fingerprinting, You can program surveys to accept only one conversion per device ID. Device Fingerprinting can identify the same device even when it changes IP addresses.
Verify zip codes and phone numbers
Verifying the respondent’s identity can be done by matching the zip code and phone number provided on the survey with those in public records. If they do not match, this is a strong indication that the respondent may be fraudulent.
So, validating zip codes and phone numbers in online surveys becomes necessary. Validating eliminates fraudulent responses, which can artificially inflate survey response rates. It also ensures that the data you’re collecting is accurate and reliable, which can help you make better business decisions.
Ask questions that grab attention
Attention-getting questions cannot be quickly responded to with a simple “yes” or “no.” People who respond quickly to receive an incentive will miss the significant answers.
Introduce terms and conditions
T&Cs can deter fraudulent survey responses by informing respondents that they agree to the survey terms when they click submit. This helps ensure that only qualified respondents are taking your survey, improving your data quality and reducing survey costs.
You can add a checkbox to your survey questionnaire that respondents must check before submitting their responses, indicating that they have read and agreed to the T&Cs. If a survey respondent clicks on disagreeing, they will automatically be disqualified from filling the survey.
Start and conclude your survey with a repeated question. You can include questions regarding the respondent’s ethnicity, location, or age. Check whether both the responses at the beginning and the end match. If they don’t match, consider the responses as fake.
Calculate the average response time
If a survey completion is far below the average time, it may indicate a bot or a user attempting to fill out the form as quickly as possible with inaccurate data.
Summing it up
It is highly essential to be aware of the signs of a fraudulent response to protect your business from potential losses. Many firms hire agencies to conduct their online panel studies to ensure that their survey data is accurate and would not hinder their research results.
However, as the project gets massive, panel suppliers also begin analyzing their output for clients.
How is CleverX solving this problem?
CleverX conducts a deep, thorough background check, ensuring that none of the professionals on its platform are faux. Furthermore, it lets the businesses find their own set of leading industry professionals to conduct their online panel studies, resulting in data that is not only 100% authentic but also reliable.
Take a look at how we are changing the online survey industry and how market research firms are making a hit with us!