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Paid Search Brand Protection

Google's verification rules have proven ineffective at protecting brands from fraud. PPC is used to defraud customers daily, yet it is often only noticed when it is too late.

Much like affiliate hijacking, fraudsters use loopholes in Google Search to impersonate brands and place ads on branded keywords. Users believe they are genuinely interacting with a brand ad. Sometimes fraudsters will use a brand’s own domain in the ad, before redirecting to a scam site. This activity does not show in Auction Insights and only comes to light when customers are defrauded. We can alert you when the instant scams start running.


Your customers can be scammed by Paid Search ad hijacking

Phishing Scams
When users search for this brand, they encounter an ad that appears legitimately from your brand.

Upon clicking the ad, users are funnelled through invisible redirects — processes that occur without the user's awareness.

The final destination is a bogus website inviting the user to participate in a contest where they must submit their details. A common scam shows users a spinning wheel game with the promise of winning a gift card. Unsurprisingly, the user always "wins" this game, only to be redirected to another site where they are asked to provide personal information.
M&S Spinning Wheel.png
Fake Sites

A common scam involves bad actors hijacking brand ads in paid search; users are redirected to a fake website to “sell” the goods.

Users who click on what appears to be a legitimate ad are taken to a counterfeit site designed to look like the real thing. These scam sites often use domains that look similar to or are misspellings of the real domain, further misleading the user.

Marcode is able to automatically detect lookalike websites, as described in Which? magazine.

Fake Lyca Site.png
Phone Scams
Much like the paid search Phishing scams, users are served an ad that appears genuine and displays the brand's real domain. They are then redirected to a fake site which looks like the actual website, but informs the user that the site is down for maintenance, and instructs them to call to make an order.
Skyscanner Phone Scam_edited.png
Fake Logins

This activity uses paid search to trick users into logging into fake versions of important platforms, often financial, to handover personal details and make financial payments.

Scammers often place ads on "brand + login" terms and use closely matching domains to do trick users.

How Marcode protects brands & consumers
Instant Alerts

To take action brands need to know when the activity is happening. Marcode checks every 6 minutes, with unlimited variations of instant alerts so  brands know immediately when their customers are under threat. 

Automated Reporting

Marcode automates reporting for several policies to search engines. Our experience has shown the faster action happens by submitting multiple types of requests immediately. This can all be done at the click of a button.

High Risk Warning
The unique approach to data collection within Marcode means you can be alerted to potential threats before they start scamming. Our experience has shown accounts will be live for 2 months before running scam ads, Marcode allows you to take action before they get started. 

Marcode has been purpose-built to detect fraudulent websites. Keywords are scanned every 6 minutes, from multiple locations, automatically highlighting closely matched domain names.

Our platform alerts immediately, and automates the reporting of these bad actors so your customers stay safe.

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