How to prevent spam and fake orders in WooCommerce in 2020?

Spam can do a lot of damage to your website, especially to e-commerces. Regardless of the security mechanisms you use (software, scripts, tools), fake orders can cost a lot of money to your business and also affect your SEO ranking and credibility. Today, we’ll show you how to prevent spam and fake orders in WooCommerce and we’ll have a look at the best security tools you should be using.

Interesting facts about spam in eCommerce

Fraud and spam in eCommerce are getting more and more common. But when looking at some statistics, the impact to the businesses is shocking:

  • Frauds in eCommerce increased by 45% in 2017 and 8 big industries reported nearly 58 billion USD in losses
  • Online shopping frauds grew by 30% in 2017
  • 92% of fraudulent online transactions in 2017 were made by credit card. And 38.6% of reported cases occurred in the US
  • The rate of credit card chargebacks is rising with 20% each year
  • People between 25 and 34 years old are the most likely to be affected by online fraud

Why do you receive fake orders in WooCommerce?

Spam and fake orders are one of the worst nightmares for every WooCommerce store owner. These fraudulent orders are placed by bots and scripts place and they usually involve big amounts. Additionally, they normally target stores with the Cash on Delivery option enabled because they need to provide less information.

Some other times, the goal of fake orders in WooCommerce is to deceive store owners. For example, they may place an order for a product that needs to be shipped but when the product reaches the destination, the address doesn’t exist.

That’s why you must put some security measures in place and authenticate the orders to prevent spam and fake orders in your WooCommerce store.

How to prevent spam in WooCommerce?

There are several ways in which you can prevent fake orders in your WooCommerce store. Let’s have a look at the most effective ones to keep your store safe.

1) Set basic anti-spam settings

The first thing you can do to prevent spam in your store is to set up some basic anti-spam settings in WooCommerce. Let’s have a quick look at some of the things you can enable:

  • Switch off the Anyone can register option from the Settings > General section. Please note that this only affects the admin side, not the WooCommerce registration forms.
  • In the Discussion section, uncheck the option Allow link notifications from other blogs (pingbacks and trackbacks) on new articles.
  • Make sure you have to approve the comments before they’re published. You can use plugins like Disqus or enable the Comment author must have a previously approved comment option to avoid spammy comments.

After you make sure you have those basic anti-spam settings in place, you can set other security measures.

2) Additional measures to prevent fake orders

Create a custom registration page that spam can’t recognize

The common target for spammers is the “https://yoursite.com/wp-login.php?action=register” page. If you create a different page for registration, it will be harder for spammers to find it.

Admin new user approval

With a plugin like Profile Press, you can manually approve new users from the dashboard or directly from your mail. Even though this adds another task to your process, if you have a small business and you want to have more control over your users, it may make sense to do it.

Use CAPTCHA

Nowadays, many stores use CAPTCHA to prevent spam in WooCommerce. Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart, also known as CAPTCHA, is software that requires the user to take certain action to get to the next step. This way, it protects websites against bots and makes sure that the visitor is a human being.

The most common example of this is when you have to select images that have certain figures, type an alphanumerical code, or perform a mathematical operation. This makes the process slightly slower for the visitor but it’s a very good way to verify that there is a human behind the operation.

The easiest way to add CAPTCHA to your site is by using tools such as Advanced noCaptcha & invisible Captcha or Passster.

3) Install an anti-spam plugin

We also recommend using an anti-spam plugin to improve your store’s security. Some of the best plugins to prevent spam in WooCommerce are:

  1. Akismet
  2. Blocker
  3. Titan anti-spam
  4. No CAPTCHA reCAPTCHA
  5. NS8
  6. Limit Attempts
  7. Fake Customer Blocker
  8. Honeypot Contact Form 7

Let’s have a look at what each of them has to offer.

3.1) Akismet

With more than 5 million active installations, Akismet is one of the best plugins to prevent spam in WooCommerce. This tool promises to block 99.9% of spam from getting to your store. It automatically filters the spam comments and checks it against a global database, protecting your website from malicious content. Additionally, it automatically checks all the comments and discards the ones that seem to be spam.

Akismet is a freemium plugin. Once you activate it, you’ll have to get an Akismet.com API key to use. There are free keys for personal blogs and paid subscriptions that start at just 5 USD per month.

3.2) Blocker

This tool helps you prevent fake orders and keep fraudulent customers out of your shop. Blocker allows you to refuse orders from a specific IP address, state, and zip code, and add them to a blacklist. When this happens, it will interrupt the checkout or account and the user will get a notification explaining why the operation was blocked.

3.3) Titan Anti-Spam

Titan Anti-Spam is another popular plugin to avoid fake orders. This tool includes everything from anti-spam, firewall, malware scanner, site accessibility checking, and threat audits. It automatically blocks spam in the comments section and needs no CAPTCHA. You can also convert spam comments in regular comments. Additionally, it’s GDPR compliant so it doesn’t store unnecessary information about the visitors.

Titan Anti-Spam a blocking algorithm that’s based on the ‘invisible js-captcha’ and ‘invisible input trap’ (aka honeypot technique) methods.

Please note that this plugin isn’t compatible with Disqus, Jetpack Comments, AJAX Comment Form, nor bbPress.

3.4) No CAPTCHA reCAPTCHA

With No CAPTCHA reCAPTCHA, visitors will only need to click the checkbox in the reCAPTCHA tool that Google creates to make sure they’re not robots. The main difference with a CAPTCHA is that it doesn’t require typing numbers, answering questions, or solving math problems.

3.5) NS8

NS8 protects WooCommerce sites from advertising fraud, order fraud, and performance issues. It scores every user, traffic, and order, detects patterns, and identifies the potential risk of fraud and spam.

It also monitors if:

  • SSL certificate is set to expire
  • Domain has been added to a spam list
  • Website is flagged for malware concerns
  • The site fails to load or your load performance drops against the global average.

NS8 has a very basic free version and premium plans that start at 29.95 USD per month.

3.6) Limit attempts

This IP Address blocker is very effective to prevent spam in WooCommerce. It helps you avoid brute force attacks, which are repeated attempts of access directed by some software that can damage your website. You can add and block IP addresses; hide login, register lost password forms for blocked or blacklisted IPs, and customize the error messages.

It’s compatible with Gravity Forms, ReCaptcha, Captcha Pro, and Captcha Plus.

This is a freemium tool. It has a free version that works very well but if you want more advanced functionalities, you can go for the premium plans that start at 23.90 USD per year.

3.7) Fake customer blocker

This is a security add-on for WooCommerce that helps you block emails, domains, new orders with errors or notices, and fake orders. It also lets you inform the users why they can’t continue with their orders and customize every message.

This is a premium plugin that costs 14 USD.

3.8) Honeypot Contact Form 7

With this addition to Contact Form 7, users won’t have to put a CAPTCHA but it still maintains the anti-spam functions against bots in forms and shopping carts. This way, it avoids false orders in your store. And the best part is that it’s a free tool.

Gravity Forms Users

If you’re a user of Gravity Forms, we recommend you go to the Options section and activate Enable anti-spam honeypot because it’s disabled by default.

Call the customer

It may sound a bit invasive but if your products are services like assessments, ebooks, or online courses, for example, calling the customer and talking to them before the purchase can be a smart option. This way, you’ll get to know their expectations and even give them tips or extra information about the product or service they’re interested in.

Some e-learnings like Open English use this method. Platforms like UpWork also call their candidates and interview them before accepting their profiles to prevent spam.

Verify the CVV code of the credit card

The CVV code is the 3 number code at the back of the credit cards and it must match with the registered card. If it doesn’t, it can be a fraud. This is a very extended verification method because it’s simple and effective.

User email confirmation

Another way to prevent spam in WooCommerce is to use some plugins so that the user must confirm their registration by clicking on a link sent to their email. Users who haven’t activated their accounts are pending and you can manually review and approve them. This is one of the safest methods because spammers don’t always get to that point.

Confirm before shipping

You can confirm all the order details via mail, text message, or phone call with the client. This will help you prevent fake orders in WooCommerce and you can use it as a gesture of responsibility with your customers.

Verify the address

You can also hire an Address Verification System (AVS). An AVS compares the billing address the user registered in the transaction with the address provided to the bank from the cardholder. Even though this isn’t a bulletproof measure, it helps a lot to collate the data and avoid losses.

Conclusion: Prevent spam and fake orders in WooCommerce

All in all, fake orders are becoming more and more common in eCommerce and can be quite costly for your business. That’s why you must put some security measures in place and prevent spam in your WooCommerce store.

If you can authenticate the orders, you’ll have great chances of stopping spam on your site. Apart from saving you some money, it will also help you keep your store clean of irrelevant or potentially harmful content for both you and your users. Besides, if you avoid fake orders, emails, and registrations you can concentrate on what matters the most: growing your business. Need some help with that? Here you can have a look at some tips to optimize your online store!