A few weeks ago, Zinklar’s Sampling and Panel Advisor, Efrain Ribeiro, was interviewed in a Market Research podcast regarding data security and survey fraud in the Market Research industry today. Ribeiro is a respected professional with a long track of experience in the field and has been working with Zinklar for years.
Regarding survey fraud, the discussion centered on the role fraud has been playing over the past years in the Market Research industry, and the sophistication it has achieved in the era of online panelists. According to Ribeiro, it has been a part of the ecosystem for the last 25 years, can make up to 20% of the total panelists, and has evolved to become a chronic problem.
3 Main Types of Survey Fraud
There are 3 types of survey fraud that are more easily perceivable, even though Ribeiro made the point that there probably existed many more and that the industry should invest more in understanding and preventing less common ones. The main three were described as:
- A person simulating being two or more people.
- A group of people basically operating the same way but on a much larger scale.
- An entity that goes directly to the incentive pool, although in this case the research itself is not compromised as it is bypassed and not completed.
In the first 2 cases, there is also the probability of encountering bots, or automated programs that fulfill the same actions a human would but at a larger and much quicker rate.
In all of these cases, the fraudsters’ aim is to access the incentives given to those involved in the research. This is why fraud is a much larger concern in more high-profile research projects where compensations tend to be much more attractive, as mentioned by Ribeiro in a Zinklar online webinar a few months ago.
Despite all this, or perhaps because of it, there have been recent advancements over the last years, and several companies with more sophisticated digital solutions have already started offering solutions for both panel companies and clients aiming to do the research themselves.
Unfortunately, survey fraud is a problem that has and will continue to evolve, keeping one step ahead regarding security. This is why it is vital to have an experienced team of Market Research experts who can detect these problems on time to avoid making any vital decisions. Adding to that, the New Normality we are currently facing on a global scale makes it vital to have and use trustworthy digital solutions, and mobile-only technology is the surest way of interacting with consumers every step of the way during any purchase cycle.