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Don’t Let the Bots Win: How to Detect and Prevent Fraudulent Customer Engagement

Author: Tiffany Staples

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When the bots win, you - and your customers - don't. You must take immediate action. It's no longer enough to monitor the bots, trusting the guardrails and protective measures you had in place yesterday will meet the needs of the clever programmers and fraudsters of today. To take back the legitimate customer experience, you must turn to the data. 

Ticketmaster has recently come under fire for a very shaky experience #Swifties encountered when attempting to purchase tickets for an upcoming Taylor Swift concert. Greg Maffei, CEO of Liberty Media, Ticketmaster’s largest shareholder said “...The site was supposed to open up for 1.5 million verified Taylor Swift fans. We had 14 million people hit the site, including bots, which are not supposed to be there.” When you follow the data, allowing the insight to guide your path, you can not only plan more accurately based off interest, reporting, and scientific models, you're able to identify fraudulent users and bots, blocking their access instantly.  

 This is especially necessary in cases such as the Taylor Swift concert, where bots, or automated ticket purchasing programs, can be used to purchase tickets at a faster rate than legitimate customers. This results in bots buying large amounts of tickets and then reselling them on third-party sites for a higher cost. While bots may appear to be just another customer, they don't require the same customer experience as someone who will actually attend the event. By using advanced analytics and data science tools, companies can detect bots that are trying to game the system and prevent them from taking advantage of legitimate shoppers. 

 The key question is: How do you identify bots? The most effective way to do this is by deploying a data platform built for fraud prevention that ingests and analyzes customer behavioral patterns and data to identify actions unique to bots. For example, bots may be programmed to click on links or fill out forms in a specific order and at a certain speed. They may also attempt to access the same page multiple times within a short period of time or from different IP addresses. By using these data patterns as indicators, companies can quickly detect bots and block suspicious activity before they have an opportunity to disrupt the customer experience. 

 In addition to analyzing customer behavior, companies must also pay attention to other data points that could potentially reveal bots. Building a complete identity graph for anonymous and known users is vital. Organizations must deploy technologies that identify customers that arrive from suspicious IP addresses or those with suspiciously concise account details in real-time. Companies should also lean heavily on sophisticated machine learning algorithms to look for anomalies in customer behavior beyond what humans alone can identify. Advanced capabilities like behavioral biometrics provide a level of insight that can instantly detect bot activity. 

 Companies that can detect bots before they have a chance to wreak havoc will be better equipped to offer a seamless customer experience. By taking proactive steps and using data-driven strategies to identify bots, companies can protect their customers from the damaging effects of fraudulent activity. As bots become increasingly smarter and more sophisticated, companies must remain vigilant in their efforts to prevent bots from tanking the customer experience for legitimate customers.  

 With the right tools and techniques in place, you can ensure your customers get the best possible experience every time they interact with your business. In doing so, you can safeguard not only your bottom line but also your reputation as a reliable and trustworthy company. Don’t let bots win – equip yourself with the data-driven strategies needed to detect and prevent fraudulent customer engagement.