Multiple Accounts Abuse: Strategies to Protect Your Business and Profits
Free trial periods are a marketing tool to attract potential customers. While these trial periods are effective in drawing in new users and showcasing a company's products or services, they also come with the risk of abuse. One common form of abuse is when users sign up for multiple accounts to extend their free trial periods indefinitely. This can lead to a significant loss of profits for companies that rely on subscriptions or other revenue models. In this blog post, we will discuss various strategies to prevent multiple account abuse and protect your business from potential losses.
Implement Email Verification
The first line of defense against multiple account abuse is implementing an email verification system. By requiring users to verify their email addresses during the signup process, you can verify they have access to a working email. However, users may use temporary or throwaway email addresses to create multiple accounts. These disposable email addresses allow them to bypass email verification processes while maintaining their anonymity. As a result, email verification alone is not enough to prevent multiple account abuse.
Require Phone Number Verification
Another way to prevent users from creating multiple accounts is by requiring phone number verification during the signup process. By sending a text message with a verification code to the user's phone, you can ensure that they provide a unique phone number for each account. This can be a more robust solution than email verification, as phone numbers are much more difficult to obtain or spoof than email addresses.
Tracking and Device Fingerprinting
Tracking users' IP addresses and device information can help you identify suspicious patterns and detect potential abuse. By monitoring users' IP addresses, you can identify those who repeatedly sign up for new accounts from the same IP. Similarly, device fingerprinting can help you recognize users with multiple accounts on the same device. Using these methods, you can flag potentially abusive accounts and take appropriate action.
Implement Proxy and VPN Detection
Virtual Private Networks (VPN) and Proxies are often used by users to hide their real IP address. This is a strong indication that a user is trying to hide their real IP or location to circumvent multiple account prevetion methods. Use the Focsec VPN Detection API to detect signups that are coming from VPN or Proxy IP addresses.
Limit the Number of Free Trials per Payment Method
A very effective method to deter users from creating multiple accounts is to limit the number of free trials allowed per payment method. By requiring users to provide a valid payment method during the signup process, you can ensure that they can only access a limited number of free trials. This not only helps prevent multiple account abuse but also encourages users to convert into paying customers after their trial period ends. This method is very effective but not 100% bulletproof. Prepaid credit cards are widely available and may be used to circumvent this measure.