Mobile app fraud increases in the Middle East

By Jalaja Ramanunni

The three industries in the Middle East that are most vulnerable to mobile app install fraud are travel, finance and shopping — a study by AppsFlyer reveals.

Andreas Naumann, anti-fraud evangelist at AppsFlyer, explained that fraudsters find it cheaper and more scalable to create fake users with counterfeit devices than running a device farm. The pandemic has further fueled mobile app fraud schemes, taking advantage of the surge in mobile device usage during the global health crisis.

According to AppsFlyer’s State of Mobile App Fraud report, travel companies saw the highest fraud rates, followed by finance apps and shopping apps. Bots are the most widely used tactic in the Middle East, followed by click flooding and fake publication.

Naumann commented, “According to a study we did last year, 9 in 10 UAE businesses now offer dedicated mobile apps for their customers. Marketers are under pressure to drive up app installs through mobile ads. But given budgets are tight, several are experimenting with new media sources and channels that are often more susceptible to fraud. Ad networks, in addition, are also trying to increase profitability and they are taking riskier placements.”

The impact of mobile app install fraud continues to drain advertising resources in the region. The digital advertising industry’s rapid expansion and rising costs are significant reasons for this vulnerability. Media buyers are sometimes not aware of the dangers such as mobile app fraud while looking for affordable media sources.

Globally, mobile app install fraud exposure reached $5.4 bn — a 157 per cent increase. Bots are responsible for over 70 per cent of fraud across all regions.