A sizable minority (5%) of all marketing emails are opened by bots, as scammers flock to "click fraud bots" to fake email conversions if Polygraph believes the research.
An extremely popular variety of cyber scam, "click fraud" is where website owners use fraudulent methods such as bots or automated scripts to fake legitimate clicks on their ads.
Since these website owners are paid based on the number of people who click on their ads, this generates revenue for the scammer.
How does the process work?
This process involves scammers creating an account on an advertiser's website. The scammer then receives an email with a link to activate the account, according to Trey Vanes, Polygraph's marketing manager.
The bots, which are programmed to monitor the scammer's inbox for new emails, click on the links contained in those emails.
Vanes says this tricks advertisers into thinking the listings are real, so they start sending marketing emails to scammers.
These marketing emails are then opened by scammer bots as they are programmed to open all emails and click on their links, tricking the advertiser into thinking they are getting an engagement.
But it's not just click fraud that is costing UK businesses dearly.
A clear majority, 64%, of UK businesses have experienced an economic crime incident in the past two years, according to a PWC survey of 107 UK businesses, well above the global average of 46%.
Email services continue to play a significant role in this type of fraud affecting UK businesses.
Research by security vendor Ivanti found that nearly three-quarters (74%) of organizations said they had been the victim of a phishing attack in the past year, mostly via email.