Fake Ads

Fake Advertisements that impersonate real organizations, created by fraudsters to scam consumers & steal revenue.


What are Fake Ads?

Fake ads are created by cybercriminals with the intent of impersonating a brand to steal revenue or sensitive information. Fake advertisements mimic popular brands by using their name, logo, and other brand assets on an ad, while redirecting the consumer to a fake domain. Ad platforms such as Google, Facebook, Instagram, and more, can all be vulnerable to fake ads.

Fake Google Ads

Consumers usually don't suspect that an advertisement at the top of Google Search is fraudulent. Google has some existing processes in place to try and prevent scammers from advertising on their platform. They may ask you to verify ownership of a business by providing details about business operations or upload documentation. (Source: Google Support) This won't stop determined criminals from slipping through the cracks.

Fraudsters that bypass verification can easily and immediately start bidding on relevant industry/product/brand keywords and appear in Google SERP. Unknowing customers that click through the ad will then be redirected to a lookalike domain, where their payment credentials could be stolen or they could be purchasing counterfeit goods.  

Fast growing startups and smaller companies are the most vulnerable to these attacks, compared to established organizations, such as Apple for example, who have trademarks that are easily recognized and flagged.

Learn more on our blog: How Scammers Use Google Ads to Target Brands & Customers

Fake Social Media Ads

According to Federal Trade Commission research, scams on social media are skyrocketing year over year.

Source: Federal Trade Commission

Facebook and Instagram are prime hotspots for fake ads. Scammers will usually first create several fake profiles, "borrow" images from real brands, then start running targeted ads to scam unsuspecting users. Customers who buy from these ads oftentimes receive poor quality substitute goods, if anything at all.

Why are fake ads an issue?

  1. Loss of consumer trust and damage to brand reputation
  2. Loss of revenue
  3. Security concerns - phishing/credential theft

How can I take down fake advertisements?

If you notice your brand being targeted by fake ads, the best thing to do in the moment is to immediately report the ad on the respective platform.

However, spotting and reporting individual ads may not be the most efficient and effective method. We recommend taking an automated and proactive approach to handle fake advertisements at scale.

Bolster helps its customers combat fraud by training its algorithms to spot fraud and brand impersonation all across the web and social media, then auto-submitting reports to domain registrars and social media platforms to get them taken down.

Learn more about our social media protection solution.

Our AI-powered platform monitors for registration of lookalike domains of your brand and provides continuous monitoring on multiple search engines for fake and lookalike scam ads for your brand.

Click here for a free report assessing your company’s typosquatting threat landscape.