All About Facebook Ad Fraud | ClickCease Blog (2023)

Facebook have firmly established themselves not just as the biggest social media network, but also as a formidable way to spread your advertising message.

But with some pretty iffy press over the past few years; with a series of scandals linked to fake news and data breaches, you can be forgiven for wondering about how reliable the Facebook advertising network is when it comes to click fraud.

Running ads on Facebook is nothing new, with the company also owning another social media behemoth, Instagram. So, if you’re planning on running an ad or marketing campaign on social media, you’re probably considering one of Facebook’s offerings.

With that in mind, understanding how your Facebook ad can be affected by ad fraud, or click fraud, is an important step in avoiding and minimising your exposure to it.

How does ad fraud on Facebook work?

In much the same way that other online advertising can be defrauded, so can Facebook’s. In August 2019, Facebook actually sued two Asian based software developers for ad fraud on the Audience Network. It’s alleged that the two app developers, LionMobi and JediMobi, both created apps that were infected with malware. Once installed, the malware would then perform a click injection attack, or flooding fake clicks on Facebook ads, which would pay out to the advertisers.

Facebook’s Audience Network is a display ad platform, not unlike Google’s display ads. What this means is that external websites and mobile apps can sign up to display ads from Facebook. If a visitor then clicks on these ads, the site or app owner will receive payment for hosting the ad.

You might also be aware of the problem of scam ads on Facebook, and yes there are plenty of Facebook fraudsters. But it’s worth noting that this is a different kind of fraud. These genuine adverts have been created to defraud potential customers, often relating to cryptocurrency or suspect products like diet pills – and you’ll find plenty of people who have been scammed by Facebook ads.

(Video) Facebook Fraud

The most common types of Facebook ad fraud

Although the example of the fraudulent app developers is quite alarming, in fact the majority of Facebook click fraud comes in the form of the more general fake clicks or invalid clicks. These are most likely to be clicks from:

  • Automated traffic such as bots or web crawlers
  • Click farms, designed to drive up popularity and traffic of pages and sites
  • Competitors looking to deplete your advertising budget
  • Non-interested parties, such as people just browsing or accidental clicking of your ad

Bot Traffic

Put very simply, bot traffic is any non-human automated traffic that goes through your ad. Frustratingly, bot traffic does still count as a click, even though there is no chance of a sale or interaction from it. These bots can be anything from scrapers, amasssing information from across the web, to viruses, malware or any other automated process. It’s estimated that around half of all internet traffic is of the automated variety…!

You can read more about bot traffic here.

Click Farms

The click farm can be either a group of people, hired to click on ads or social media profiles, or an automated set up. Yes, they do exist, normally in low income countries such as Bangladesh or the Philippines.

People can buy clicks online for whatever purpose they need, from driving up traffic on a website to getting more followers or likes. These purchases tend to go through click farms.

Read more about click farms here.


The one thing about a PPC advertising campaign is that it can soon add up, and if you’ve set your budget correctly, your ad will stop at a certain level. Competitors know this and play games with your ad, clicking on it multiple times to maximise your ad budget.

(Video) How Does Ad Fraud Work & 10 Ways to Stop Ad Fraud From Killing Your Business

In fact, competitor click fraud is one of the most damaging (and alarmingly common) forms of PPC fraud, on all ad platforms.

Invalid/accidental clicks

This refers to any click on your ad that is unintentional. It might be from people not paying attention to what they click on, or from a shared post that attracts random traffic on Instagram or Facebook.

How can you avoid ad fraud?

To be fair to Facebook, they have been more and more active in combating ad fraud and click fraud on their platforms. Having been the subject of a spate of recent scandals, they’re obviously trying to minimise their bad press by being proactive.

In one instance Facebook sued a company that was selling fake likes on it’s Instagram platform. They also appear to be making an effort to remove spam and scam pages, or those that have been identified as having inauthentic behaviour.

So Facebook are doing their bit. How can you avoid Facebook click fraud on your ads?

Pay attention when setting up your ad

It’s very easy to set up a Facebook ad, and also very easy to do it wrong. It’s highly recommended you take a look at Facebook’s own documentation and tutorials about setting up an ad online to make sure you target the correct demographic and general audience.

The first defense against problems with your Facebook ads is doing it right!

(Video) How To Detect and Combat Ad Fraud

Choose your audience wisely

When setting up your Facebook ad, you have an incredible amount of control over who sees your ad and where. From age ranges, job types, geographic locations, interests… This is one of the best things about using Facebook for your advertising.

With this in mind, it can be tempting to go for the broadest possible canvas and watch those customers come rolling in. However, it pays to be a bit more cautious, especially when starting out.

Study your customer personas, work out who best to target, as well as the when and where. This will help you avoid fraudulent traffic considerably.

Avoiding ‘Audience Network’

As we’ve already seen in this article, Audience Network does mean that your ad is displayed on partner sites and apps. Although this means your ad reaches a wider audience, you will have less control over where your ad is displayed.

Audience Network does offer a very interesting way of getting your message out there, with a variety of ways to display your ad. From traditional banner ads to reward videos, there is no doubt that it can be effective. However, it is also a very easy tool for ad fraud networks to use too. Consider carefully if you do want or need to use the Audience Network.

The thing is Facebook make it very easy to use Audience Network, but not so easy to turn it off. If you decide you don’t want to use it, make sure to check that you have deactivated it before your ad goes live.

Blocking users and locations

As well as choosing specific demographics and locations, you can also block certain hotspots or user profiles from viewing your ad. You might want to pre-emptively block traffic from some countries such as Pakistan, Nigeria or Venezuela, but then what about the authentic traffic from these sources? You might also be a business based in those countries, or targeting those markets, so this might not be your best option.

(Video) How to Prevent Ad Fraud | Digital Marketing Brand Safety Tips

What you can do is monitor traffic and activity using website trackers. If you spot multiple visits from certain IP addresses, or a particularly high traffic flow from a particular advertiser then you can add these to your block list.

Using a click fraud protection package

Thankfully, in 2020, CHEQ For PPC, the first click fraud protection solution to also cover Facebook, was launched. This is already saving enterprise customers significant sums from wasted ad spend on the platform. Without a click fraud protection package, it is possible to identify fraudulent traffic and report it to Facebook. For smaller businesses, ClickCease click fraud protection can block fraud from Google Ads campaigns, but not from Facebook.

The reason for this is that identifying fraudulent traffic is one thing, but having a platform partner to block this traffic once detected is another.

For this reason, the rules above for avoiding bad Facebook traffic are so important.

In conclusion

Aside from Google, Facebook is one of the biggest and best advertising platforms available. For boosting your brand visibility or getting more engagement with a product or service, it’s close to unbeatable. Especially when you consider that Instagram, Facebook Messenger and the Audience Network can all maximise your ad reach.

If you are using Google Ads for your advertising click fraud is still a big problem, and one that is only getting bigger. If you want to stay in full control of your ad spend, and be assured that it’s seen only by REAL people who are potential customers, ClickCease is a wise investment.


Does Facebook give fake leads? ›

Yes, when you use social advertising, some bots or false clicks will be displayed on the network and you will pay for some of them. If not, whether it's because of fake clicks, bad ads or ineffective targeting, you need to leave the channel or improve your campaign.

How do I report a Facebook fraud ad? ›

To report an ad later:
  1. Go to the Ad Library.
  2. In the Search Ads box, enter keywords that are related to the ad or the advertiser name. Then tap the enter key.
  3. Scroll to find the ad that you want to report and click. next to it.
  4. Choose Report Ad and then follow the on-screen instructions.

Does Facebook have bots that click on ads? ›

Marketers running ads on Facebook know that impressions matter. We mean ad impressions, of course. So how many of your ad impressions are being wasted on bots and bad audiences? Data from Cheq shows that around 4% of all ad clicks and impressions on Facebook are from bots or non-genuine accounts.

What words are banned on Facebook ads? ›

Facebook prohibits content that includes profanity, sexual innuendo, and discrimination. You will not be allowed to run any ads that contain this type of content, so keep it out of your copy and creative.

Where can I find Facebook ad leads? ›

To access your leads:
  • Navigate to your Facebook page and click the Publishing Tools button at the top bar.
  • On the left-hand side you will see the Lead Ads Forms section. From here, click on the Forms Library option.
  • Under the Leads column, click Download. Your leads will be downloaded to a CSV file.

How can I get cheap Facebook leads? ›

  1. Set your campaign goal to lead generation. ...
  2. Limit the number of form fields. ...
  3. Narrow down your target audience. ...
  4. 4. … ...
  5. Limit your ad placement targeting. ...
  6. Use lead generation ads to target people in the middle of your funnel. ...
  7. Run retargeting campaigns. ...
  8. Use a lookalike audience.
24 Mar 2020

What happens when you report a Facebook ad? ›

When something gets reported to Facebook, we'll review it and take action on anything we determine doesn't follow our Community Standards. Unless you're reporting an incident of intellectual property infringement, your report will be kept confidential and the account you reported won't see who reported them.

What can you do if you get scammed on Facebook? ›

If you attempt to contact the seller and get no response, you can contact Facebook and request a refund. You should also report the buyer or seller as a scammer to alert Facebook of the misconduct. To report a person on Facebook Marketplace, navigate to the Marketplace icon on the left side of your screen.

Can I report a Facebook scammer to the police? ›

To report an Internet crime that has occurred in California, contact you local Law Enforcement Agency; your local High Crimes Task Force; or the Attorney General's eCrime Unit. We encourage all victims of Internet Crimes to also contact the The Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3).

How do I stop fake clicks on Facebook ads? ›

What can you do to prevent it, though?
  1. Study Facebook Ads PROPERLY. ...
  2. Don't outsource. ...
  3. Be very careful what audiences you are targeting. ...
  4. Turn off "The Audience Network" ...
  5. Focus on Desktop ads, not Mobile Ads. ...
  6. Use the Block List. ...
  7. Shift things around and re-market.
2 Mar 2018

How do I stop fake leads on Facebook ads? ›

How to Stop Getting Bogus Leads from Facebook Ads
  1. Add additional qualifying questions. ...
  2. Provide several responses a user can select from. ...
  3. Optimize your ad copy. ...
  4. Narrow Your Target Audience Focus. ...
  5. Lead Follow-Up.
18 Feb 2020

Can Facebook detect bots? ›

It uses a technology called “Deep Entity Classification”. With it, Facebook algorithms can detect fake accounts based on a lot of factors, namely human behavior. It even improves over time, being able to learn from past experiences with bots. It's also building a fake platform to serve as a “honey pot” for bots.

What can you not do on Facebook ads? ›

Complete guide to The do's and don'ts of Facebook Ads
  1. Don't Be Deceptive. Do not set your ad as bait for the viewers. ...
  2. Don't Ignore Mobile Users. ...
  3. Don't Put Your Campaign On Auto-Pilot. ...
  4. Don't Overdose it with Text. ...
  5. Know your target audience. ...
  6. Include a clear call-to-action (CTA) ...
  7. Set the right budget. ...
  8. Proofread.
18 Mar 2019

What items should not be advertised? ›

Those ads may contain images of weapons, as long as they are not pointed directly at the users seeing the ad.
2. Weapons and Explosives
  • Firearms.
  • Ammunition.
  • Paintball guns.
  • BB guns.
  • Fireworks.
  • Explosives.
  • Pepper spray.
  • Knives.
7 Oct 2020

What are Facebook's trigger words? ›

Using trigger words such as “free, sale, limited time, join my team, follow, buy, like, share,” and so on, were the norm in traditional advertising messaging.

How do Facebook ads generate leads? ›

Here's how to set up Facebook lead generation ads, step by step.
  1. Go to Ads Manager.
  2. In Ads Manager click Create in the top left corner.
  3. Choose Lead generation as your objective and name your campaign.
  4. Choose the Page you plan to use for the lead ad. ...
  5. Choose your target audience, placements, budget, and schedule.
19 Mar 2019

How do you get paid for leads? ›

By using online marketing, email marketing, and offline methods, you can reach more potential customers and convert them into paying customers. Follow up with leads to get them interested in your product or service, and don't be afraid to ask for their business.

How do you get leads emailed to Facebook? ›

You can find it at the bottom of the bridge completion page; it reads “Do you want to receive an email notification for each lead coming in?” All you have to do is push the little switch button next to it. Then, you start receiving notifications right in your mailbox.

How much should Facebook leads cost? ›

According to our benchmark data, the average cost per lead in Facebook ads across all industries is $19.68, ranging from $12.91 for food and drink to $56.89 for news.
Facebook ads cost per lead by industry.
IndustryAverage CPA
People & Society$33.21
Pets & Animals$15.29
Real Estate$16.52
9 more rows
12 Jul 2021

What is a good Facebook cost per lead? ›

Databox found the average CPL for a Facebook campaign falls between the $0 and $25 mark. But if you've checked your reporting dashboard and realized you're paying over the odds for each lead, you'll have one question: How do you reduce your CPL?

How much is a Facebook ad 2022? ›

Research suggests that advertisers should expect to pay: $0.94 per click or $12.07 per 1,000 impressions. Facebook bills advertisers based on two metrics: cost per click (CPC) and cost per mille (CPM)—otherwise known as cost per 1,000 impressions.

What happens when you report a scammer on Facebook? ›

We have information about reporting scams here: When something gets reported to Facebook, we'll review it and remove anything that doesn't follow the Facebook Community Standards. Your name and other personal information will be kept completely confidential.

How long does it take Facebook to respond to a report? ›

Generally, your report can get reviewed within a few hours, and sometimes, it can take a whole day, two days, or in the worst case, a week. You can access your support inbox to see the status of your reported case. If you were wondering if someone can know you reported them, Facebook reports are anonymous.

How many reports are needed to delete a Facebook account? ›

There is no fixed number mentioned officially. It depends on the severity of the case and the authenticity of the report. Sometimes even one genuine report can make Facebook delete an account and that too within 24 hours. At other times, it may take a few more days and a series of reports.

Will Facebook refund my money if I was scammed? ›

Goodwill refunds are at Facebook's discretion. If Facebook approves your Purchase Protection claim, you'll get a refund for the full purchase price of the product and any shipping costs. You can see full policy details in the Purchase Protection Policy.

Can I get money back after being scammed? ›

Contact your bank immediately to let them know what's happened and ask if you can get a refund. Most banks should reimburse you if you've transferred money to someone because of a scam.

Can you go to jail for scamming on Facebook? ›

Yes, you can go to jail for online scams. The federal government takes online fraud very seriously, and it has a number of laws that make online scamming punishable by jail time. The maximum sentence for wire fraud is 20 years in prison.

How do I recover from being scammed? ›

Steps to Recovering from a Con, Scam, or Fraud Scheme
  1. Recovering from a con, scam or fraud scheme may be a long and difficult process. ...
  2. Step 1: Keep track of your credit report.
  3. Step 2: Consider filing an extended fraud alert.
  4. Step 3: Think about filing a civil suit in court.
  5. Step 4: Don't blame yourself.

How do I deal with being scammed? ›

12 Steps to getting your life back on track
  2. Don't beat yourself up. ...
  3. Do not allow yourself to be casually judged. ...
  4. Give yourself time to grieve. ...
  5. YOU ARE A VICTIM. ...
  6. Get on with your life!

How do I contact Facebook admin? ›

To access support, go to your group then to the Admin Tools section. You will find a support option below the Group Insights section, called “Get Facebook Support”. From there, you can report a problem, ask a question, provide feedback or track existing tickets you've submitted.

How do you prevent fake leads? ›

How to Stop Lead Generation Fraud
  1. Carefully Vet Your Affiliates and Marketing Partner Agencies. ...
  2. Regularly Check the National Do-Not-Call Registry. ...
  3. Trace Fake Leads to Their Point of Origin. ...
  4. Keep an Eye on Your Marketing Metrics. ...
  5. Use an Ad Fraud Solution to Screen Your Lead Generation Efforts.
30 Jun 2021

Why do bots click on ads? ›

Your ad publishers and affiliates

Ad publishers and affiliates use click bots to boost traffic numbers and increase their revenue. They do this to collect the payouts for the clicks on the ads. This is common in ads using the PPC revenue model.

Is it safe to click on Facebook ads? ›

If you happen to click or tap on a “bad” ad you'll probably be taken to a fraudulent website designed to steal your personal information and credit/debit card info. And it'll probably download malware on your device as well.

What is a lead gen campaign? ›

Lead Generation Campaign: The process of capturing and generating interest in a service or product for the purpose of developing leads. This includes a strategy using a particular media source and an offer to create inbound leads. Nurturing: Some leads qualify early on, while others may take more time.

Does Facebook know my IP address? ›

Through social media. Social media sites (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, etc.) do not reveal IP addresses between users, but the site administrators indeed know your IP address. Also, if you click on an ad or link on the site, they will capture your IP address.

Can Facebook block an IP address? ›

Yes. ALL public facing network block ranges of suspicious IP addresses. Otherwise their servers would be overwhelmed with spam, attacks, etc.

Will Facebook delete fake accounts? ›

According to Facebook, "our goal is to remove as many fake accounts on Facebook as we can. We prioritize enforcement against users and accounts that seek to cause harm and find many of these fake accounts are used in spam campaigns and are financially motivated."

How do I contact Facebook support? ›

On the desktop site, look up at the top right corner of the screen. There, you'll see a downward-facing arrow — click it and select "Help & support" from the dropdown menu. From there, you can select "Help Centre," "Support Inbox," or "Report a problem."

How do I report something on Facebook? ›

Tap in the top right of Facebook, then tap your name. Go to the post and tap in the top right. Tap Find support or report post and then tap the option that best describes how this post goes against our Community Standards. You can also block the person who posted this content on your timeline.

How do I report a business on Facebook? ›

Go to the Page you want to report by tapping its name in your Feed or searching for it. Tap Find support or report Page. To give feedback, tap the option that best describes how this Page goes against our Community Standards. Depending on your feedback, you may then be able to submit a report to Meta.

Can I chat with Facebook help? ›

No, Facebook doesn't have a live chat support.

What is Facebook's official email? ›

You can also try emailing the general Facebook support email:

How can I chat with Facebook support 2022? ›

How To Contact Facebook Support | UPDATED 2022 - YouTube

How many reports does it take to close a Facebook account? ›

There is no fixed number mentioned officially. It depends on the severity of the case and the authenticity of the report. Sometimes even one genuine report can make Facebook delete an account and that too within 24 hours.

What is considered a threat on Facebook? ›

Under California Penal Code Section 422, it is a crime to willfully communicate a threat to another person that would result in great bodily injury or death.

Who reported me on Facebook? ›

You cannot find out who reported you on Facebook. Facebook keeps this information confidential as it could become a problem if you knew who it was that reported you.

How many times does a Facebook page need to be reported? ›

How many reports needed for Facebook to take action? It usually takes around 10 reports for Facebook to take immediate action on for any Page. More than 10 reports will put the reported page in the priority queue for Facebook support.

How do you get a Facebook page taken down? ›

To report a page to Facebook for deletion:

Go to the page you want to delete. Click the three dots under the Facebook page's cover photo. Click “Report page.” Enter details as to why the page should be deleted.

How do I delete a fake Facebook business page? ›

Click on “Edit Page” then click on “Update Info” in the drop down menu. This will take you to a new screen with different options in a list on the left side. Choose “Manage Permissions”. Scroll to the bottom and you will see an option to “Delete the Page”, click it.


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4. 74 - The Dirty Secrets of Ad Fraud
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5. Mobile Ad Fraud Bots & Inefficient Marketing Campaigns
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6. What is Ad Fraud? All you need to know about the #1 cybercrime!
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