Fraud. It’s an unfortunate reality of the lead generation business, and there has never been a shortage of opportunistic players trying to get a share of advertising dollars by delivering qualified “leads.” Their schemes can be simple or elaborate, but they inevitably end with the advertiser taking a hit on ROI and employee morale.

Until recently, lead fraud has been mostly present in data transactions where consumer information gets delivered to advertisers for a fee. Nearly all advertisers have battled against common data fraud issues: lead recycling, bogus data, oversold leads, aged data sold as new, coregistration leads being sold as SEO and so on. To combat these activities, companies have introduced services to help advertisers identify and reduce the impact of fraud on their organizations. In their simplest form, these services provide a way for the advertiser to validate lead information or confirm the identity of the consumer. They are typically easy to implement and can provide a great check for an advertiser to feel more confident about the quality of their marketing spend. But as trends in lead generation shift, will these services be enough?

The Trends They Are A-Changin’

The confluence of advertisers wanting to engage consumers deeper in the sales funnel combined with the availability of call tracking have led to an increased popularity in another type of lead generation: pay-per-call advertising. Here’s how pay per call works: Similar to data leads, a revenue event occurs when the advertiser receives a phone call, either direct or live transfer, from a consumer who is expressing interest in the advertiser’s product. These calls typically need to exceed a predetermined duration to be considered “qualified” and become eligible for payment. And similar to data fraud, fraudsters were quick to jump in on this new money making opportunity.

The Cost of Pay-Per-Call Fraud

The impacts of pay-per-call fraud are far more substantial than that of data fraud. With data leads, there has always been an expectation that some leads will have inaccurate information, and prices and return policies often reflect this. Many of the data errors are not the result of fraud, but are actually rooted in consumer behavior, such as typos or choosing to provide wrong info in order to avoid emails or phone calls. But the expectations around inbound calls are very different. Not only are they the best expression of consumer intent, but they also lead to a detailed engagement between your representative and the consumer that results in a high conversion rate. This reality makes pay-per-call events well worth the premium. That is unless the call is fraudulent.

An inbound call can cost several times more to buy or generate and they are often routed to the best sales talent in your organization. It’s a situation where the ripple effects can be more significant than the event itself. When a fraudulent call takes place, an advertiser not only suffers a monetary loss, but may also realize an impact on employee morale and data integrity.

Spot Call Fraud Before It Happens

There are many ways to identify pay-per-call fraud. Most commonly, advertisers look for anomalies in conversion rates between campaigns and call providers, study call details to spot consistencies in ANI, geography or call duration, and listen to countless hours of recorded calls to find same voices, scripting or behavior. All of these methods are effective to a certain degree, but like eating a bad oyster, the damage is already done by the time you figure it out.

The trick is to identify and eliminate call fraud before it enters and impacts your organization. At Whitepages Pro, we’ve found that there are a number of identifiers related to the caller’s phone number that help indicate if a fraudulent call is taking place. Through a simple API integration, we’ve developed a solution for Call Tracking Companies, Marketing Companies and advertisers to identify in real time if an inbound call looks legitimate or fraudulent. Pro even manages a list of known numbers that have recently been associated with fraud and spam so you can maintain the integrity of your call traffic. With this data at your disposal, you will have all the information you need to route calls in the manner that will increase sales and impose the least amount of risk to your organization.

Want to learn more about how Whitepages Pro helps you identify lead fraud? Visit our marketing and lead management page to discover new solutions.

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