If your business offers check-in specials to its customers, how do you ensure that the people that “check-in” are actually at your store?

Foursquare provides a number of catches and safeguards to prevent users from checking-in too often or when they aren’t physically present at your store.  On their website, Foursquare states:

Foursquare discourages cheating in the system using the best tools available today.

We use a three pronged approach that uses a combination of things;

  1. Technology (phones and location)
  2. Software (the application and our system)
  3. Our advanced detection algorithm.

This system allows us to identify those who are trying to “cheat” and handles them in a way that precludes them from doing it in the future.

While we do not disclose the exact details for security reasons, you can be sure that this is a top priority and our current detection and handling methods have worked tremendously well to date to deter fraud in the system.

On top of the safeguards that Foursquare uses, PlacePunch also counts one check-in per location per day for your loyalty program.  This prevents customers from checking in 5 times at the same place in one day and earning excessive rewards.  Additionally, other services, like Facebook Places, are much more strict about how close to a venue you must be in order to check-in.

Despite the best defenses, these systems are not perfect in guaranteeing that customers are 100% verified at your venue when they check-in.  However, remember that services like Foursquare and Facebook Places are designed to make it incredibly easy for customers to check-in and tell their friends about your business.  These companies could add methods to 100% verify that customers are at your store when they check-in, but those would inherently make it more difficult for your customers to complete the check-in process.

PlacePunch consistently monitors check-ins for our customers’ loyalty programs and have not uncovered an occurrence of users posting fake check-ins.  Practically all customers are honest about the places they check into.

As Foursquare, Facebook and other check-in services expand their fraud detection systems, we’ll keep you up to date.

What are other ways Foursquare could limit fake check-ins? Are fake check-ins a concern?  Let us know in the comments!