How can companies spot fake emails addresses?

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Anonymous #1
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A friend works with a promotional company which requires her to basically get as many people as she can to sign up on a website. I have told her to just make a bunch of fake emails lol, but she told me that they monitor every signup closely. Just wondering what the technicalities are behind this, and how fake signups can actually be detected?
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gtty123
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And this is what you'd view as "everyday issues"?
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username5383500
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The technicalities are that "it's complicated". So I'm just going to use the website signup as an example.

The absolute simplest way to detect this is to see where the traffic is coming from. Let's just say your friend creates 10 emails. She signs up to the website with all 10 emails. Nothing about that is immediately suspicious. However all the sign up traffic is going to be coming from one IP address. Is it likely there are 10 people living in the same household who all just suddenly decided to sign up to this website? Probably not. And of course when you realise the traffic is also coming from someone that works for you, it becomes blatantly obvious they just created a bunch of accounts.

That's not the "be all and end all" of the issue. But it's the most basic explanation of what could be happening. Ultimately only the organisation can outright tell you what they do, and that's not information they're going to release.
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bamtutor
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and if she is being paid to get sign ups and creates false ones then she is committing fraud (OBTAINING PECUNIARY ADVANTAGE BY DECEPTION) and will be sacked.
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StriderHort
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Yeah, the short answer is they're not stupid and they are unlikely to tell you how exactly they check.
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Bbles
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(Original post by AcseI)
The technicalities are that "it's complicated". So I'm just going to use the website signup as an example.

The absolute simplest way to detect this is to see where the traffic is coming from. Let's just say your friend creates 10 emails. She signs up to the website with all 10 emails. Nothing about that is immediately suspicious. However all the sign up traffic is going to be coming from one IP address. Is it likely there are 10 people living in the same household who all just suddenly decided to sign up to this website? Probably not. And of course when you realise the traffic is also coming from someone that works for you, it becomes blatantly obvious they just created a bunch of accounts.

That's not the "be all and end all" of the issue. But it's the most basic explanation of what could be happening. Ultimately only the organisation can outright tell you what they do, and that's not information they're going to release.
Ah, that makes a lot of sense! Thank you
Last edited by Bbles; 1 month ago
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Bbles
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(Original post by bamtutor)
and if she is being paid to get sign ups and creates false ones then she is committing fraud (OBTAINING PECUNIARY ADVANTAGE BY DECEPTION) and will be sacked.
We are aware lol!
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ReadingMum
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They will also monitor bounces - if every sign up she claims then bounces on first contact then that would be a clue.
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Bbles
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(Original post by ReadingMum)
They will also monitor bounces - if every sign up she claims then bounces on first contact then that would be a clue.
Sorry I’m kind of thick with this stuff, what does it mean if it bounces?
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ReadingMum
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It means that the email couldn't get through - maybe because the user's inbox is full but usually because it is invalid. Often this is because of a typo in the signup but a made up email address would have the same effect.
When a company sends out a campaign via email they will get various statistics back about the campaign - Sends, Opens, Clicks, Unsubscribes, Bounces.
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username5383500
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(Original post by ReadingMum)
It means that the email couldn't get through - maybe because the user's inbox is full but usually because it is invalid. Often this is because of a typo in the signup but a made up email address would have the same effect.
When a company sends out a campaign via email they will get various statistics back about the campaign - Sends, Opens, Clicks, Unsubscribes, Bounces.
Obviously this assumes that "fake" in this context means the user entered gibberish, so the email address is invalid. For OPs clarification, this wouldn't happen if they actually created the email account, since the traffic would go to the mailbox.

It does highlight another sign though: poor conversion rate. If one of your promoters signs up a bunch of fake email accounts, then even if the traffic is delivered nobody is going to interact with it. And that's going to look awfully suspicious. Best case scenario it looks like you're bad at your job.
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