Phone farms

A phone farm is a physical location where criminals force repeat actions – such as ad views, clicks, registrations, installs, and in-app engagement – to create the illusion of legitimate activity, draining advertising budgets. 

What is a phone farm?

Phone farms (also called device farms and click farms) are maintained for the purposes of mobile ad fraud and are illegal in much of the world.

As mobile advertising budgets have grown, phone farms dedicated to mobile fraud have become increasingly common.

Though phone farmers taking advantage of incentivized advertising have grown increasingly bold, often sharing their activity in public, more advanced phone farmers have found lucrative opportunities in the mobile app install market. 

phone farm

How phone farms work

Advanced phone farmers use a variety of tactics to hide their activity, including hiding behind fresh IP addresses, using a broad variety of devices, while either enabling Limit Ad Tracking or hiding behind DeviceID Reset Fraud (resetting their DeviceIDs with each install).

When perpetrated at scale, this type of fraud is also known as DeviceID Reset Marathons.

Though device farms are often portrayed as a fraud-type that is based in Asia, our research has found device farms operating across the world, and advertisers around the world are impacted by this fraud.

device id reset fraud via phone farm

Get the latest marketing news and expert insights delivered to your inbox