What is considered fraud for a referral program?

This can vary from merchant to merchant, but we have found that there’s a distinguishable difference between what most merchants consider acceptable and unacceptable for their referral program.

Generally speaking, most merchants consider the following as unacceptable (to name a few):

  • Self-referrals

  • Sharing their referral link or coupon on coupon sharing websites such as “RetailMeNot” or coupon browser extensions like “Honey”

  • Sharing their referral link or coupon on public forums such as “Reddit” or “Quora”

We understand that there are merchants that have no problems with their customers posting links/coupons on forums or coupon sites. We suggest you use the knowledge in this guide to outline a “Terms and Conditions” for your referral program that best suits what your team considers acceptable and unacceptable.

How to check for fraud?

  1. From the Stats and Overview page you will see the Fraud Center section that will notify you if there are any suspicious referrals that require your attention:

    • Take note of the indicated deadline, if this lapses before you take action, the Advocate will automatically be considered eligible for the reward.

    • We also notify you of suspicious activity in our weekly suspicious activity report that’s sent to your account’s “Admin Email Address” indicated here

  2. We also recommend periodically checking your “Top Referrers” section at the bottom of the same page:

    • By default, this will give you a quick overview of which Advocates have the highest total referrals in the last 30 days. You can use this to quickly spot-check if any of your Advocates have a noticeably high amount of referrals you may need to investigate.

    • If some Advocates stand out considerably from the crowd, it might be worth checking if they are an influencer and are simply sharing with their subscribers/followers, or if they have posted their link on a coupon site, etc.

How to handle Fraud?

You’ll be shown a full list of all the suspicious activity we were able to detect from our Fraud Center.

Clicking on the first entry will bring you to a page that looks similar to the screenshot below. Here you can select “Yes, it’s fraud”, “It’s not fraud”, or “I’m not sure”.

We’ve indicated information such as:

  • What platforms we’ve found the referral link posted on

  • Where the referral link received the most clicks from

In this example, a lot of the redirects were coming from Facebook so we’d most likely give the Advocate the benefit of the doubt that these are legitimate referrals via social media.

You can use the information on this page to help you decide what action you should take. Once you’re ready, you have the aforementioned three (3) options to choose from:

  • Yes, it’s fraud - provides options to ban the Advocate and/or view and delete referrals

  • It’s not fraud - provides an option to mark the Advocate as trusted

  • I’m not sure - provides an option to contact customer support

Some Best Practices

There will be instances where we are unable to detect or trace where a referral link or coupon code has been posted/leaked. If you’re unsure about banning an Advocate or voiding referrals, perhaps the following might be worth trying:

  • Using a search engine (such as Google), you may want to try searching for the Advocate’s unique referral link or friend offer code.

  • Reach out to the Advocate’s email address. It’s possible the Advocate could be an influencer or blogger that’s simply been sharing the link to their audience.

  • You can also reach out to our customer success team here.


  • Many websites do not index their sites in a way that allows us to scan or search for our referral link and coupon leaks. Our primary goal for fraud management is always to mitigate as much fraud as possible.

  • Our Fraud Center actively looks for specific, known suspicious behavior, and may not be able to detect other forms of fraudulent behavior.

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