Online store Published: 19.12.2022

Fake orders. What are they, and how to deal with them

Dealing with Fake Orders: Tips for E-commerce Businesses

Every online store is experiencing the problem of fake orders sooner or later. In that article, we'll tell you where fake orders can come from and how you can fight them.

Table of contents
  1. What are fake orders?
  2. Who leaves fake orders?
  3. How to detect false orders
  4. Popular tips for fighting fake orders
  5. How Cartum struggles with fake orders
  6. How to deal with fake orders
  7. Conclusion

Every online store is experiencing the problem of fake orders sooner or later. In that article, we'll tell you where fake orders can come from and how you can fight them.

What are fake orders?

Fake orders are orders placed by people in your online store without the intention of buying the product. Fake orders are created with different purposes and in different ways. If such orders are numerous and constantly repeated, it affects the operation of the online store. Managers waste time processing fake orders while service for real customers is delayed.

Fake orders in e-commerce are only part of the large-scale problem of advertising fraud. Fraudsters are coming up with more and more new ways to make money. For example, some programs mimic the actions of a Real user and bypass all security and verification systems.

In 2019, Facebook filed a lawsuit against two developers of such programs for click fraud. The developers LeonMobi and JediModi made apps simulating user clicks on Facebook ads. It gave the impression that users clicked on ads. In 2021, it was agreed that the companies would pay monetary compensation for click fraud.

Who leaves fake orders?

It is not always possible to find out who is the author of fake orders and his motivation. You can spend a lot of time and resources on this but still not find an answer. We have analyzed possible variants.

Attack of competitors

A competitor attack is signaled by an Abnormal number of requests with atypical orders and by changes in user behavior, which can be seen using Google Analytics. For this purpose, it is essential to track e-commerce metrics that will allow you to understand from which channel the users who leave false orders came.

The goal of such attacks is to disrupt your online store, making unnecessary calls, canceling orders and deleting data from the CRM. It will subsequently lead to poor customer service for real customers and a drop in your online store's reputation. In addition to fake orders, scammers can buy bots that will ruin behavioral indicators, which can affect the ranking in Google.

Fraud through CPA networks or other advertising channels

Cost Per Action or CPA translates as payment for a targeted action performed. CPA or affiliate networks drive traffic to a website by getting paid not for the number of users but for the targeted action performed. For example, they left an application or contact information or bought something. If you use different kinds of advertising and the services of affiliate networks or agencies, low-quality traffic and fake orders may come from there.

Autofill data

When launching social media advertising campaigns for lead generation purposes, you can add questions with pre-filled answers to the instant application form. In this case, the data from the profile is filled in automatically, and users can send them randomly while scrolling through social media. Such requests are not always fake, but most users may forget they left their data somewhere because it was "inserted" into the form automatically.


Scammers can leave numerous orders and burden the work of your online store so that, at a certain point, they can email you offering to stop the scam for a certain amount of money.

How to detect false orders

There are several signs that your online store is under attack:

  • many orders left at a specific time interval, such as at night;

  • a sharp increase in orders with no advertising activity;

  • chaotic set of numbers in the phone field, random characters instead of personal data;

  • identical user activity on the same traffic channel;

  • sequential orders where all the data is filled out correctly, but after order confirmation, the client says he hasn't left any requests and has never heard of your store;

  • many unconfirmed orders where you couldn't contact the client or the number was invalid.

There are various tips on the web that are supposed to save your online store from fake orders. We have analyzed the most common ones and will tell you if and when they work.

  • CAPTCHA verification. It is a minimum level of protection against fake orders, which bots may leave. But CAPTCHA will not protect you from real people posting fake orders on purpose. Scammers can easily bypass it.

  • Verification via SMS. This type of verification will fail to protect you from fake orders submitted by real people and may also increase your costs. You will pay for the verification messages, and the more bogus requests there will be - the more money you will waste, and the creators of such requests will easily pass this check. Plus, the chance of losing real customers will increase.

  • Complicated registration forms. Many fields are to be filled out, and a lot of mandatory information will scare a Real client. But fake registration will not be a problem for the Real customer.

  • The ban by IP or User Agent. This method seems efficient, but the IP ban will not be an obstacle for someone who has really decided to harm your online store. You can easily change the IP by using a VPN or connecting to mobile Internet, which provides a new IP with every use. By blocking specific IP addresses of a mobile ISP, you can block all users of that ISP who can get the same IP address. Banning by User Agent will also not work because real people will have actual and different User Agent values.

  • Geolocation restriction and banning of foreign traffic. Many users, for a variety of reasons, may use a VPN regularly and not disable it during online purchases. With such restrictions, you may lose actual buyers from Ukraine, who, having encountered difficulties when entering an online store, will not return to it again.

The more different checks you add, the more likely it is that it will scare away your Real customers. At the same time, scammers will continue to make fake orders. Before you add different types of dubious checks, see if popular online stores have similar ones. None of them uses such restrictions and doesn't require SMS confirmations.

How Cartum struggles with fake orders

Cartum also encounters fake requests to create an online store. Igor Stolnitsky, CEO of Cartum, told us how we are fighting this problem:

Fake orders from Facebook (and not only) come to us from real people. Who pay real people to click on advertisements, fill in forms on the website and confirm applications. They pass all automated checks, any captchas or confirmations. They even take calls from a manager.

We tried for a long time to figure out who is doing this and why - are competitors ordering such requests, or are Facebook advertising partners trying to improve the quality of the traffic? It was useless to figure it out. If someone leaves a fake request for a fee, it will pass any checks. For this reason, we stopped building up checking because they don't prevent fake bids at all, but they scare away real customers.

Instead, we have restructured our order handling processes and defined the criteria by which a manager sees a fake and does not waste time with it. In addition, we are experimenting with advertising channels, targeting, and simply turning off channels that produce a lot of fakes.

How to deal with fake orders

It is impossible to avoid and solve the problem of fake orders. But there are a few ways that may help.


Use Google, which tracks user activity and separates bots from humans. Most users won't see the captcha, and those who are suspicious will get an offer to solve one of the usual tasks. For Cartum users, reCAPTCHA works in all forms: registration, checkout, callback, etc.

Changing order processing

An effective way to deal with fake ordering will be to redesign your order handling processes. Define the criteria that allow you to see immediately if this order can be faked, and do not waste time on its processing. A CRM system can help with this, showing all the data about the ordered products. The more data you have about the potential customer during the order processing, the easier it is to distinguish between a Real order and a fake one. Additionally, you can check the number via Telegram or Viber and clarify details in correspondence or Getcontact.

Tracking advertising channels and optimization of advertising campaigns

Fake orders often come from specific ad campaigns. Constant monitoring of metrics in ad offices and Google Analytics can help find which campaigns are bringing in low-quality traffic with fake bids. If a problem occurs, the ad campaign should be reconfigured or disabled. For example, if there is suspicious activity after running ads on Facebook, disable the desktop to display ads in the ad cabinet or experiment with targets.


If you encounter erroneous orders, deal with them in the right way. You must not block users or add different verification methods because this will lead to Real customer loss and a decrease in genuine orders. Analyze your advertising channels, and change the order processing principle to quickly detect fake requests and not waste much time processing them.

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