Affiliate marketing has grown in popularity a few years back. The driving force is that its performance-based marketing guarantees sales for any merchants and good money for affiliates with little effort.

While it’s undeniable the potential of affiliate marketing for businesses and marketers, there’re still a lot of affiliate marketing scams that both of you consider.

This article will reveal common affiliate marketing scams you should avoid in 2022. We’ll explain them in detail and ways to realize and prevent them.

Is affiliate marketing legit?

Is affiliate marketing a scam? The answer is no.

As I mentioned, affiliate marketing is an effective way for online businesses to grow revenue and for affiliates to make a good income and incentive.

This is how affiliate marketing works:

#1 Merchant and affiliate collaborate either through a third party or directly

#2 The affiliate shares the product/service (typically through a referral link/ a coupon) to their audience

#3 The potential customer gets engaged with the affiliate’s link

#4 The customer arrives at your landing page

#5 The consumer purchases your product

#6 The affiliate earns a commission

In other words, affiliate marketing is a legit way to make money.

Affiliate marketing scams you need to avoid

Fake products/ service

A fake product scam is a type of fraud in which scammers construct advertisements or websites for items or services that do not exist.

To capture the trust of potential buyers, the fraudster would typically market the wrong items under the pretext of a well-established firm, even going so far as to misrepresent a renowned company’s website and logo.

This fraud is particularly deceitful since scammers may use the reputation of influencers and other popular websites to persuade customers to buy fake items.

With innumerable examples of similar frauds on Facebook Marketplace, social media has become a breeding ground for false product adverts.

Fake referral

Fake referral fraud is a sort of affiliate marketing scam in which scammers send fake leads or referrals to an advertiser or merchant to inflate the statistics and defraud the firm for commissions.

Fake referrals are frequently made up of synthetic identities, and most people are unaware that portions of their identities have been stolen.

In this type of marketing fraud, stolen data, frequently exchanged on the black market, is utilized to fake a real encounter.

Scammers will use a person’s personal information to fill out a form indicating interest in a product or service. They can gain income by using a specific affiliate link. The merchant pays for an unqualified referral that is not accurate.

UpPromote promoted a feature that helps you prevent suspected sales.

If you see the IP address bringing suspicious sales to your store, you can permanently prohibit sales from that IP address.

Prevent suspected sales with UpPromote
Prevent suspected sales with UpPromote

See further fraud protection features of UpPromote.

Get rich quick scheme

Another popular affiliate marketing scam is a “get a-rich quick scheme,” which promises large sums of money with little effort.

There are hundreds of such advertisements on the Internet.

Typically, these scammers would persuade you to enlist in their firm for a few hundred dollars.

They’ll convince you that you’ll learn the secrets of making millions of dollars.

When you transfer your $200 (or whatever much they need), all you’ll get is a ding on your bank account.

Regardless of how needy or impoverished you are, all quick wealthy schemes are scams unless proven otherwise.

It’s a fraud if you hear someone has a “secret” way to get money.


Fraud affiliate scams technique

  • Cookie stuffing

Cookie stuffing is an affiliate scam in which fraudsters install harmful tracking codes from various affiliate networks on a visitor’s computer. The fraudster can pocket the commission if the visitor purchases on another retail site.

This ad fraud, also known as cookie dumping, results in incorrect attribution, allowing the false affiliate to collect a percentage of the sale while doing nothing to market the goods or support the transaction.

  • Human fraud

Some settings employ many people to click on advertising, such as filling out forms or doing other tasks on your website.

This fraud is frequently more challenging to detect since real individuals are behind the screen rather than an automated bot that behaves consistently.

Human fraud, for example, may avoid the “honeypot” form fields that frequently trip up bots since they are invisible.

  • Transaction fraud

Transaction fraud, often known as “transaction laundering,” occurs when a fraudster uses stolen credit card or payment account information (such as Venmo or PayPal) to conduct a transaction from the account of an associate partner.

When a brand is the victim of an affiliate scam, they pay for more than just the first attack. They first lose the initial transaction value.

They will subsequently forfeit any commission given to the affiliate account and any chargeback costs incurred when the affiliate files a chargeback for the fraudulent transaction.

  • URL hijacking

URL hijacking, often known as ‘typosquatting,’ occurs when a fraudster purchases a URL identical to a legal retailer’s. The scammer then leads traffic to the bogus website to collect affiliate commissions.

The hacker will easily integrate affiliate links and data into their reroute process to benefit from that perception.

For example, if you misspell a letter or phrase in the URL of a reputable brand, you may unknowingly be led to the fraudster’s site.

The fraudster may even clone the essential elements of the original site and use them in a series of descending scams, charging the advertiser an undeserved fee while installing harmful software.

Pay-to-join programs

Another common affiliate marketing scam is requesting that individuals join a program or pay for membership.

All of the affiliate programs on UpPromote Marketplace are free to join and have no fees.

The mere request to pay to join an affiliate marketing scheme should raise a red flag.

The majority of these pay-to-join programs are nothing more than pyramid schemes.

If you’re serious about finding an affiliate marketing program, you should research to ensure that the people involved with the network are authentic and have actual clients.

Don’t sign any paperwork or checks until you’ve confirmed that you’re working with legitimate businesses!

How to spot affiliate marketing scams?

To avoid affiliate marketing scams like the ones mentioned above, you must first learn how to recognize them.

Here are some common red flags:

  • Stock photography of poor quality
  • Sites with lots of advertisements
  • Tens of thousands of words of copy
  • Page copy of poor quality
  • Endless website redirections

Finally, remember where you learned about the probable fraud.

The source of traffic is critical in this case. If you’re looking for the top affiliate programs to join in a specific field, everything on page one should be alright – Google has quite good quality standards.

However, the farther you go into the search engine results in pages, the more likely you will come across shady enterprises and untrustworthy websites.

How to prevent affiliate marketing scams?


It would be best if you asked the brand for testimonials. Don’t believe the reviews they provide on their website. To understand more about how they offer, request the names and email addresses of individuals you may contact.

Don’t be thrown off if you come across some unfavorable reviews. Some folks are just not cut out for specific programs. Things will most likely be alright because there are more positives than negatives. You may also use these testimonials to learn what to do and avoid.

Free signups

If you have to pay to join, it might be a multi-level marketing scheme or an internet marketing fraud.

Browse the website

The firm’s history should reveal whether or not they are reliable. Examine their website to see if you can get the relevant information.

A good affiliate program has a track record and has been in operation for a long time.

Customer support

If you have any issues, you should be able to contact the merchant. They should also give product marketing suggestions. A genuine brand would always want you to succeed since it will improve their performance if you do well. It should feature a toll-free phone number and an email address for customer service.

An excellent test is to email the firm with some straightforward inquiries. If it takes them weeks to answer, you might reconsider proceeding with this brand. If they have communication problems, they may have additional internal problems.

Find the brand on SERPs

You can confirm an affiliate program’s validity by conducting a short web search. A well-known scam will always have unhappy victims’ complaints and reviews. Even if there aren’t many complaints, five or so unfavorable remarks should be enough to steer clear.

You also use Google to assess whether or not an affiliate program is legitimate.

Wrapping it all up

All of the affiliate programs on UpPromote Marketplace offer information about the merchants and the program you will join. It is also free to join and offers a lucrative commission.

Affiliate marketing schemes pose dangers to both the affiliate and the business. Sometimes the merchant will pay money to a hijacker rather than the genuine associate who created the sales.

Nonetheless, you should not ignore the benefits of affiliate marketing entirely. 

Frequently asked questions

Affiliate marketing is a genuine relationship in which individuals are compensated for promoting a brand’s products.

Affiliate marketing is NOT a pyramid scam; affiliates are compensated based on the number of leads or sales they produce.

Affiliate marketing is entirely legal digital marketing, yet some people may use it to promote unlawful activities such as fraud.

Affiliate marketing fraud occurs when scammers use affiliate programs to defraud people or use various tactics to obtain affiliate commissions they do not earn. Some deceptive techniques include cookie stuffing, website cloning, typosquatting, producing bogus leads, and bot traffic.

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