Payday lenders targeted by click fraudsters

Payday lenders are becoming a prime target for click fraudsters, a fraud prevention firm has warned.

Berlin-based cybersecurity firm Polygraph has estimated that click fraud is costing online advertisers more than $115m (£90m) a day, with payday loan companies particularly at risk.

Click fraud works by using high value keywords on fake websites to drive traffic. Scammers then receive money each time these ads are clicked.

Fraudsters are believed to be targeting keywords associated with payday lenders and other short-term loan companies, capitalizing on the cost of living crisis which has pushed more people into debt.

According to Trey Vanes, director of marketing at Polygraph, cybercriminals target payday loan ads because of their high payout potential.

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“Scammers look for advertising keywords that pay the most per click and use those keywords to force high-paying ads to appear on their fraudulent websites,” Vanes said.

“Since criminals are all targeting the most lucrative keywords, this has created a situation where thousands of click fraud gangs are targeting payday loan ads.”

Polygraph research found that by displaying ads based on more than 1,000 of the most popular payday loan keywords, criminal gangs are siphoning off ‘huge sums of money’ from advertisers and keeping profits for themselves.

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“This problem won’t go away on its own, and it’s a high-risk strategy to hope ad networks will protect you,” Vanes added.

“The reality is that we have clients who were wasting most of their advertising budgets on click fraud. By taking action and using an independent click fraud detection service to protect them from false clicks, they now have effective advertising campaigns and no longer have to worry about being scammed by criminals.”

Polygraph said up to 80% of customer clicks from genuine advertisers are now considered fake under certain circumstances.

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