Blog: Battling Fraud: How Innovation Offers Solutions

Battling Fraud

The market research industry is continuously challenged by rising levels of online fraud, compromising data integrity and quality. That's why M3 Global Research’s commitment to high-quality survey data is underpinned by multiple initiatives designed to eradicate respondent fraud, including the deduplication of records, and manual verification of panel members’ credentials, including photo ID and facial recognition tools. We combine industry-leading technologies including Imperium’s RelevantID, and Google’s reCAPTCHA, with our own proprietary innovations, to deliver best-in-class solutions to combat fraud.

In light of recent increased concern over fraudulent respondents, it’s worth understanding the nature of bad actors. Bad actors are opportunists who take advantage of market research surveys for financial gain, therefore compromising data integrity and quality. Over the years there has been a huge rise in fraud within the market research industry, with bad actors becoming increasingly difficult to identify, so staying ahead of new tactics requires constant vigilance.

Over the years techniques to compromise the integrity of our surveys have evolved, and we are no longer just fighting off bots driving automated programs but also contending with the new human bad actors who are wreaking just as much havoc as their robot friends. There is a thriving cottage industry dedicated to professional fraud, with “professionals” paid by criminal enterprises to perpetrate fraud, teaching others how to qualify for surveys and bypass quality control checks. They document their steps in videos that are posted on YouTube, Facebook, and other social media sites.

As a result, standard methods traditionally employed to validate panellists' identities are no longer sufficient. This includes matching a name and address against a third-party source or utilising two-step phone authentication. To further improve data quality and stop bad actors, we have invested heavily in our member registration process making us the first and only healthcare panel to verify physician registrations with photo ID and facial recognition technologies. This new process further enhances panel data quality efforts and deploys technology solutions to verify new respondents' professions and identities to validate their membership.

Our industry-leading initiatives can be split into four phases to ensure we are delivering the best-in-class solutions to combat fraud:

  1. Panel Member Verification
    • Identity validation via photo ID and facial recognition technologies
    • Re-verification of panel members prior to every survey to ensure continuous good standing
    • Automatic flagging of erratic member behaviour
  2. Deduplication
    • Relevant ID flags based on device digital watermarking and fingerprinting
    • Name / address matching
  3. Fraud Control
    • Bot detection (reCAPTCHA + Relevant ID)
    • Geo-IP validation
    • Relevant ID Fraud Score (with M3 customisation for healthcare)
    • AI-based IP reputation flagging
    • Auto-capture survey start / end times
    • Automated survey complete confirmation process
  4. Survey Data Quality
    • Automated checks for speeding, flatlining, poor open-end responses, inconsistent answers, and ‘red herring’ responses
    • Data is centralised and incentive payments are blocked
    • Reinforced with scripted data checks customised for each project

Are you interested in learning how we prioritise participant quality and ensure you have the best quality data? Find out more by speaking to one of our industry experts.