affiliate marketing podcast, Rich Kahn, affiliate fraud, fraud protection

Guarding Your Affiliate Marketing Business: Anti-Fraud Tools and Strategies

In this episode of the Affiliate Marketing Podcast, Lee-Ann chats to Rich Kahn, the founder of, to discuss the topic of affiliate fraud. Rich explains the landscape of affiliate fraud, its impact on brands and businesses, and the different types of fraud that exist. He also highlights the need for ongoing vigilance and staying ahead of emerging fraud trends. Join them both as they provide practical tips and strategies for preventing affiliate fraud.

Listen in here for all of the insights:

The definition of affiliate fraud 

Lee-Ann begins by asking Rich to define exactly what affiliate fraud really means and the impact that affiliate fraud has on brands and businesses.

Rich explains, “Fraud is a big word. If you try ‘advertising fraud’ on Google, you’re going to come up with probably a thousand different types of fraud that exist in the marketplace. So I’ve been developing digital marketing companies since 1993 on the internet. Over those years, I’ve come up with two rules: One is people don’t read, they skim and scan until they find something that they want to spend some time reading. But number two – if you pay somebody to do something, the cheaters will find a way to cheat. 

“So, affiliates get paid to do something. Drive a lead, drive a visitor, drive interactions, drive, you know, sign-ups, drive downloads, whatever it is. They’re paid to do something and because they’re paid to do something, cheaters will find a way to get around anything that’s put out there.

“That’s why it’s one of the highest channels of fraud in the digital marketing space. I think there’s like eight identified channels and there’s probably more at this point. But for the most part, besides behind programmatic, affiliate fraud is the second highest channel of fraud – averaging 45%.”

Why fraud is not always a dirty word

Lee-Ann explains, “We know that there is fraud in terms of traffic, but it’s not always that an affiliate knows that they’ve been targeted by a fraudulent gang. So, it’s very important that we just caveat this conversation, for affiliate managers tuning in, that what we want to do is make you aware of the different types of fraud that exist in the affiliate industry.

“It’s not just about the affiliate program. It’s about making sure that the partners that you’re working with are legitimised. We’ll talk about some of the frameworks and things that you can put in place for that, too. But also just setting the scene to understand what a big issue fraud is.”

Never ignore the red flags!

After speaking about the definition of fraud and the impact it can have, and just how creative it can be, Lee-Ann asks what the key red flags are. What are the indicators that suggest potential affiliate fraud that could give affiliate program managers a warning that something is not right?

Rich explains, “So first thing, if you have an affiliate network, that’s a red flag. Because it’s already something happening there. But really I always tell people, follow the money. You know, you want to be able to track down fraud, it’s always follow the money. If you’re starting to see charge backs on credit cards, you’re starting to see if it’s lead generation; somebody coming back and saying, ‘hey, I called the leads that you sent me and a couple of leads told me that they never filled out the form’, that’s a problem.”


Listen to find out more about:

  • Defining affiliate fraud.
  • How to stay informed about emerging fraud trends.
  • Prioritising fraud prevention in order to protect your brand and bottom line.


Key segments of this podcast and where you can tune in to go direct:

[13:00] Identifying potential affiliate fraud.

[27:08] Setting up fraud alerts in affiliate programs.

[32:45] Practical tips for fraud prevention.


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