How Smart Developers Prevent User Fraud, Part 2

online-fraudThis is the 2nd post in a series on fraud prevention tips from our Fraud Team. If you’d like to speak with anyone about fraud in the app or game you’ve built, drop our team a note via the Support Portal!

Last week we touched on some fraud prevention tips for designing games and apps so that fraudsters have a harder time making an impact on your bottom line. Today we’ll talk a bit about the types of activities that you (or your growth partner) can monitor in order to sniff out suspicious practices and prevent abuse from becoming a bigger problem.

Deliberate Purchase Fraud

Deliberate purchase fraud is a virtual currency problem much like it is in the real world. Most of us are well aware of the risks of having our credit card or identity stolen, and when it comes to virtual worlds the risk is no different. Stolen payment methods, fraudulent identities (IPs), and other forms of trickery often seek to extract big paydays from game economies.

Typically this kind of hack is meant to acquire currencies or valuable accounts and sell them back to the game economy for profit.

For prevention’s sake, it is important that user details are recorded whenever unusually large purchases occur, or when multiple purchases sequentially increase in value. Check against IPs, user emails, addresses and other indicators when this behavior takes place because you may discover multiple accounts under an IP range using similar or identical information – a Fraud Ring – and need to shut down the exploit quickly to limit your losses.

Take away: Deliberate purchase fraud can be expensive and sophisticated, so take it very seriously.


Chargeback monitoring can go a long way to ensuring you aren’t incurring unnecessary costs or losing revenue to opportunistic users.

It’s likely that the majority of your chargebacks are legitimate, but a healthy review process can materially affect your bottom line. You’re primarily looking for excessive chargebacks, which can indicate a user is trying to take advantage of you by having you subsidize their purchases.

When we see chargeback abuse, we generally freeze a user account for our publisher or developer, preventing further purchases. It can help if a publisher removes or freezes remaining currency or items from the user account until a resolution with the account holder is identified, as this can expedite the process and it prevents opportunistic selling or trading (if applicable).

Chargeback management is a nuanced business, as many chargeback cases involve a mispurchase, the user doesn’t recognize a charge, or someone other than the payment method holder made an authorized purchase. A child buying virtual goods on their parent’s credit card isn’t fraud, after all, but effectively managing this element of your game economy can very much affect revenues and should be taken seriously.

Take away: Chargebacks are a normal part of game economies, but don’t underestimate their potential for abuse.

Communication Is Paramount

You’re likely using some variety of vendors and platforms to manage your app and game economies to earn revenue from your user base. A strong relationship with those vendors can go long way towards limiting fraud within your game, and in turn can materially impact your bottom line.

Proactive fraud monitoring is crucial to success, so we notify customers any time our systems see anything fishy. We also support the user base directly, fielding inquiries from game players through all of our support channels and alerting customers when we find problems; often your users will see fraud before you do.

In addition, we encourage all of our publishers and developers to flag or question any unusual activity they see in their games, regardless of whether it’s related to the SuperRewards platform. We built a dynamite Support and Fraud Management staff who have the ability to investigate cases deeply and provide publishers with insight regarding specific users they’re having issues with.

Take away: Fraud prevention is a community effort, so make sure you have a good relationship with your partners.

What behaviors do you monitor?

We would love to hear from you as to what tips or behaviors we may have missed! What are you doing to protect your app and game economies from fraud? Are there game design strategies we didn’t mention that help prevent abuse? Are there challenges you have trouble overcoming that we might cover in a future post?

Let us know in the comments!


Photo courtesy of riskmanagementmonitor

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  2. […] immediately on detection of chargebacks or other abuses. We block or freeze accounts as soon as chargeback abuse is detected, which significantly reduces the odds that a customer’s fraud problem will get […]