stop bots from submitting forms

How do I stop bot signups?

In this installment from the HelpDesk, one of our team answers a frequently asked question about reducing fake, bot or spam signups on your site.

The scourge of fake signups, bot attacks and the like can wreak havoc on your ability to service your real members and waste precious time.

This article will suggest some steps to protect your site from spam signups as well as a process to get rid of fake members if you do get spammed.

Overwhelmed By Bot Members asked:

“Since January my website has been getting overwhelmed by bot accounts. They don’t seem to do anything other than create fake profiles. I can only delete them one at a time and there’s too many of them. Is there any way to stop these fake signups? And is there an easier way to purge these accounts?”

Joshua from MemberMouse replied:

“I am sorry you have encountered spam. I have a few recommendations to help fight those pesky problems, and they are simple to set up.

First, in your WordPress admin, please navigate to Settings > General and you will see “Membership” with a checkbox and “Anyone can register”. You want to uncheck that, as it is not associated with MemberMouse, and doing so will prevent many odd signups. It may already be unchecked, but I just want to be thorough.

Membership Settings WordPress

Second, please navigate to MemberMouse > Checkout Settings, then click the Other Settings tab.

Near the top, you will see options for Default Membership Level or Product. Here, you want to set your default Membership or Product. You want to choose one that has cost and is not free, as this will prevent bogus signups like the ones you have shown me.

Default Membership

Third, also in Checkout Settings, but under the reCaptcha tab, I would recommend setting up reCaptcha V3. It’s an easy-to-set-up service and it’s free. This will thwart most spam as well, and with all the options above that I mentioned set, it should help control spam signups pretty well.

reCAPTCHA v3 helps you detect bot traffic on your website and reduce spam signups without having to offer tests, like those that ask you to choose all the pictures with bicycles in them, to every user. Instead of displaying a CAPTCHA challenge, reCAPTCHA v3 returns a score transparently, behind-the-scenes that indicates if the customer has passed the test or not. And based on this score, which you have complete control over, automatically decides to allow or refuse the transaction. MemberMouse also provides space to allow you to customize the message that is shown to those who fail the CAPTCHA challenge. Here are more details on how to set up reCaptcha.

reCAPTCHA v3 for membership sites

In answer to your second question, it can be difficult to remove these bot signups and doing so one by one is the safest method we have at this time, as you do not want to delete a real member. However, if you want to do these in bulk, you can go within your WordPress admin panel and navigate to Users. There you can delete multiple users at once by checking the checkbox and selecting Delete from the Bulk Actions dropdown.

The above actions are relatively quick and easy to accomplish, and will greatly reduce your risk with regard to bot signups. Please, if you have additional questions about the implementation of this, followup with me. I’m happy to assist!”

Cynthia Bennett

Cynthia is the Head of Customer Experience for MemberMouse.

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