4 Mobile App Fraud Prevention Myths, Debunked

With over 6 billion smartphone users around the world, it’s no surprise that the mobile app industry is thriving. Whether it’s for digital payments, ride-hailing, betting, or gaming, there’s a mobile app for just about anything. In fact, the industry has become so large that by 2023, mobile apps are expected to generate almost $1 trillion in annual revenue. 

But more mobile apps means more opportunities for fraud. Although mobile-specific fraud threats have been around for a while, there are still several misconceptions with regard to preventing mobile app fraud.

Myth #1: “Even if a fraud attack does happen on my mobile app, it probably wouldn’t have much impact on my business.”

Reality: Mobile app fraud can cause severe financial losses and significantly damage your business’ reputation.

Fraudsters can greatly increase the scale of their attacks on mobile apps by using specific tools and techniques. One of the most popular fraud tools are emulators. Last year, researchers uncovered a massive emulator farm where a single emulator was used to mimic more than 8,000 devices and drain millions of dollars from mobile banking accounts in a matter of days.

Financial losses aside, a fraud attack on your mobile app can cause irreparable reputational damage, with two-thirds of users stating they would stop using a platform over a single fraud incident. Trust lost is hard to win back. 

Myth #2: “Mobile fraud prevention solutions aren’t worth the investment.”

Reality: Mobile fraud prevention solutions can help generate returns on your investment by saving your business both time and money.  

There’s no skirting around the fact that fraud prevention is a business expense. While cost should be kept in mind when choosing a mobile fraud prevention solution, investing in one could help businesses save up to $1.4 billion a year on fraud losses. At the very minimum, a solution tailored to your specific requirements will always pay for itself.

Mobile fraud prevention solutions can also save you time. Though manual reviews continue to play an important role in fraud prevention, they might be costing your team more time and effort than they should. Solutions that are powered by artificial intelligence and machine learning can recommend and make decisions in real time, thus greatly reducing the need for manual reviews.

Myth #3: “It’s enough to prevent fraud at the payment checkpoint since that’s where money is lost.”

Reality: Fraud can happen at any point along the user journey.  

Although payment fraud is arguably one of the more common fraud types on mobile apps, attacks aren’t just limited to transactions. 

In 2019, more than 2,000 stolen user identities were used to create multiple fake driver and passenger accounts on ride-hailing apps Uber and Lyft. The fake passenger accounts were used to claim free rides, while the fake driver accounts were sold to unqualified drivers. Some fraudsters were also able to rack up referral bonuses by taking advantage of driver acquisition campaigns. 

As fraudsters come up with increasingly creative ways to attack and defraud mobile apps, focusing on the payment window alone is no longer enough. To protect your mobile ecosystem from end to end, a more holistic fraud prevention approach is required. 

Myth #4: “Integrating a mobile fraud prevention solution can take up a lot of engineering effort and resources.”

Reality: Modern fraud prevention solutions are lightweight and quick to integrate. 

Preventing fraud on your mobile app might be no easy feat, but modern fraud prevention solutions have straightforward integration processes, allowing businesses to get them up and running in minutes.

This said, depending on factors such as the size of your company, product roadmap, and customisation requirements, integration times can vary. Even if this is the case for your business, most mobile app fraud prevention solutions can be integrated in stages.  

Changing Attitudes Towards Mobile App Fraud Prevention

It’s normal for businesses to have misconceptions such as these about mobile app fraud. After all, the mobile environment is still in its infancy when compared to its web counterpart. However, as long as these myths persist, mobile fraudsters will continue to outpace mobile businesses. 

Find out how we can help your business stay ahead of the curve.