We can choose to work with, work around, exploit, or temper (better?) the innate characteristics of being human. The advertising industry has certainly turned the exploitation angle into an art. We can also choose to deny them. Many business processes and systems fail because they do not account for such human nature.
One of these characteristics is the temptation of cheating. This has the combined rewards of discovering a loophole in a system, and exploiting it for personal gain.
In a recent meeting with a client to design a customer referral competition, we actually spent quite a bit of time discussing how people could potentially circumvent the process.
We chose to accept a certain amount of risk – and allowed some loopholes to remain open. Closing every one of these holes would have cost us more time and money, and also made the entire process too cumbersome to use.
Working with the realities of human nature meant strucking the best balance possible between ease of use (if it is hard to use, people won't use it) and cheating prevention (a portion people will attempt to cheat).
Idea: what if we designed the process to exploit the temptation to cheat? What if the act of cheating is the desired viral action?