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Scalping is taking advantage of the limited availability of sought-after goods or services, buying them, then turning around to sell at a premium. Automation of the attack with bots allows scalpers to target a wide array of in-demand products or services, quickly purchasing at a moment’s notice, and often posting on resale sites almost instantaneously. The constant access and monitoring of sites for product availability, as well as quick purchases when available, is a task well suited for automation.

Scalping can affect both products and services. Event tickets are what most think of for online scalping, but in-demand toys around the holidays, and even limited edition sneakers have been prone to bot scalping. And in some metropolitan areas like New York and Los Angeles, reservation scalping is a problem for many restaurants that are difficult to get into.

Volumetric limits were one answer, but sites soon found more sophisticated bots that used many different customer accounts in parallel to evade volume limits, as well as behavior that better mimicked users for basic user detection methods such as CAPTCHA. PerimeterX Bot Defender goes well beyond the basics, with sophisticated behavioral fingerprinting that can block the robots as they are trying to access or scan the site for item availability. This prevents malicious access altogether, before ordering of any products or services can occur.