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Combatting the Silent Drain of Fraud Leads

Oct 10, 2023 • Chelsea So

Digital ad spending worldwide will hit $601.84 billion this year, up 9.5% from $549.51 billion in 2022. With increased digital spending, there’s also a rise in fraudulent activities, which leads to fraud leads. 


These are fake leads generated to deceptively extract money from advertisers without offering any real value. They not only dent the marketing budget but also waste the valuable time of sales teams. 


This article sheds light on fraud leads, their implications on sales teams and ad costs, and methods to combat them.

What are Fraud Leads?

Fraud leads typically come from automated bots or manual methods that simulate legitimate user interest. Sometimes, competitors or link farms generate these false leads to drive up costs for advertisers or to gather data deceitfully.

Implications on Sales Teams and Ad Costs:

  1. Wasted Time & Resources: Sales teams spend time qualifying and pursuing these leads, only to realize they’re bogus. This diversion can cause genuine leads to get less attention, leading to potential revenue loss.
  2. Inflated Ad Costs: Every click or lead costs money. Fraudulent clicks can significantly inflate a business’s advertising budget without any return on investment.
  3. Skewed Analytics: Fraud leads can distort marketing analytics, making it challenging to assess campaign performance accurately.

Brand Reputation: Continuous interaction with fake leads can demotivate sales teams, leading to decreased morale and trust in marketing campaigns.

Counteracting Fraud Leads:

  1. Adjusting Settings to Ward Off Link Farms: Some platforms allow advertisers to block suspicious IP addresses or geographies known for high fraud rates. By adjusting these settings, businesses can prevent their ads from being visible to notorious fraudsters.
  2. Manual Review of Suspicious Ad Placements & Queries: Implementing a system where every suspicious ad placement and search query is manually reviewed can significantly reduce the chances of getting trapped by fraud leads. This process might be time-consuming, but is crucial for businesses with high marketing budgets.
  3. Pursue Ad Spending Credits: Platforms like Google offer mechanisms for advertisers to claim credits for invalid clicks or leads. Regularly auditing ad spend and submitting invalid click investigations can help businesses recoup some of their losses.
  4. Third-Party Monitoring Tools: Several tools in the market can help detect and prevent click fraud. These tools monitor campaigns for suspicious activity and automatically filter out invalid clicks.
  5. Collaborate with Platform Providers: Open communication with ad platform providers can be beneficial. These platforms, aware of the widespread nature of the problem, often have built-in tools and methods to detect and prevent fraud.
  6. Educate Your Teams: Regularly updating your marketing and sales teams about the latest fraud tactics can help them identify and avoid suspicious leads.


Dealing with fraudulent leads is an ongoing challenge for digital advertisers. By being proactive, continuously updating fraud prevention measures, and using a mix of automated tools and manual reviews, businesses can mitigate the effects of these fraudulent activities. Protecting your marketing investment is essential for sustained growth and profitability.

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