There’s more concern about fraud in business studies than in consumer.
Why is that?
The reason is often given that the higher rewards offered for business studies attract fraudulent respondents. There may be some truth to that. But the primary reason that fraud is more prevalent in business studies is that business studies are almost always low incidence studies. True frauds are a tiny percentage on a well-managed panel, but their impact can be magnified when the incidence is low.
Here’s an example to illustrate the point:
Imagine that 1% of a B2B panel is fraudulent and they will tend to over-qualify, because they lie to get into the market research study. You have a project that needs 100 interviews at 100% incidence. Of the 100 interviews one will be a fraud. This is unfortunate but it doesn’t affect the data.
Now assume you need 100 interviews at 5% incidence. This means 2,000 people have to start the survey. Of these 2000, 20 will be frauds (that’s 1%) and they lie to qualify. This means that now 20 of your 100 interviews are fraudulent. Your data really is going to be affected now. If you lower the incidence rate yet further, say to 2%. That’s 5000 starts of which 50 are frauds…. and so it goes on. As the incidence drops, the risk increases dramatically.
The fraud problem is not something unique to business studies–it’s the same for any low incidence study. The solution is to put powerful fraud controls in place throughout the market research study process – from recruitment source selection to reward redemption. Examples used by SSI include:
1. Certification for all sources used
2. Source monitoring
3. Phone verification of respondent information given at join stage
4. Digital fingerprinting to prevent duplication
5. Data mining of profiling data, (so, for example someone who has two computers among 200 employees might throw up a red flag)
6. Matching panel join data with information panelists have shared on social media like LinkedIn (with their permission of course)
7. Monitoring throughout a panelists’ lifetime, as they earn credit for good performance
8. Reward claim controls, such as claim delays and verification via phone before rewards can be unlocked
9. Quality controls within the questionnaire – SSI recommends five, with disqualification only if two or more are failed
The vast majority of market research study respondents act in good faith – our goal is to catch the tiny minority, while preserving a pleasant respondent experience for everyone else.
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