How does scalping work and how do you stop it?

What is scalping and why it needs to be stopped

Scalping bots, also referred to as scalper bots use automatic ways to ensure goods like event tickets bought in large-quantity are secured and finish the checkout sequences in a matter of seconds that would normally have taken a person much longer. Scalpers, attackers use automatic software to stay in front of the line and purchase countless tickets from the time they are on sale.


Scalping is a popular technique in the industry of ticketing, where the bought tickets are sold once again later at a higher profit by touts/scalpers. As such, users are going to be denied inventory, because the services or goods become unavailable.

Scalpers buying restrained availability tickets or goods for reselling them elsewhere can end up in a bad public opinion in becoming linked with selected brands.

Types of scalper bots

There’re several bots’ types that can be used to undertake online scalping. These methods are API, Auto-refreshers, form-filling, and pre-bottling scalpers.

-Pre-bot allows one single script to automatically run to have access to a different site at a go. This script is used in setting up an account even before the D-day of sale for an upcoming popular event. And after the tickets are sold, this script will be up and running and will process countless tickets in a short period.

-Form filler is a simple script that collects web pages in most cases registration forms, and requests info like email address, username, credit card info. The bot then saves such data for later use, and after such bots are verified as valid users, the processing time will be instantiated and the user wouldn’t have to be taken to the fill form section.

-Auto-refreshers on the other hand are scripts that occasionally call a website automatically for the purpose of refreshing the page and confirming if tickets have gone on sale. If they have gone online, this script will then use the details it obtained from the preceding script, allowing it to acquire them before anyone else can do. Because this way is usually used together with form filler script, it’s feasible for many purchases to be done using one bot over a duration of time, but depending on the frequency of the website refresh rate.

-API scalpers are bots that have extra data in an API. Such scripts allow automated access for a wide range of functionality features through applications, and websites and they can enable them to undertake different tasks in an automated way in a program posting messages via Facebook.

The end goal of scalper bots

Scalper bots in most cases are made to enter the info which is needed for purchases needs, like credit card information and email addresses, that would take a person longer than it is for an attacker to finish the process in seconds. Other advanced scalper bots have the potential to bypass the validation CAPTCHA and several other validation measures set in place.

Stopping scalper bots

Organizations take different steps to avoid the use of scalping bots. They can limit purchases of tickets to only one or two persons. They can as well scrap off tickets for any high-demand events in checkout systems that allow speedy credit card purchases.

On the other hand, the retailers are trying to get rid of scalpers by reducing any information on customers about sales weeks in advance and using security filters to block any checkout processes. It can be so hard to monitor these bots because of the fact that they are so quick and operate in varied IP addresses in different parts of the world. Here is how to know that you are dealing with a scalping bot.

  • Mouse cursor refuses to work while making online purchases
  • Slowing down of internet connection after clicking buy tickets
  • Taking so much when trying to complete transactions

Other auction sites and online shopping platforms have come up with ways of preventing scalping. They prevent any exploits in concert tickets or any unsold goods by combating these scalper bots. For example, Ticketmaster has Verified fan technical where fans who have registered and followed will access the tickets first while they are made available online.

How to protect your business from scalpers

The best way to keep your business intact and away from scalpers is by server-side bot management software. This enables you to prevent any kind of bots from accessing your website. Also, you can easily access advanced analytics that can be used in checking the legitimate users that access the site.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How can I stop a scalper bot?

There are several ways of keeping off any scalper bots. These include using server-side bot management software and enabling cookies in browsers. This helps to prevent multiple account usage by one person.

How to build scalper bots?

They are usually coded in different software languages such as PHP and Python which run on different operating systems. This means they can really adapt to working on various devices such as smartphones.

How to check if my business has been attacked by scalper bots?

Using server-side bot management software is the surest way of confirming whether or not your business has been attacked by scalper bots. This is because you can clearly check whoever visited the site and the activities they undertook. You can as well check out the time spent on each page of the site.

Who designs scalper bots?

They are usually designed by a variety of different builders. They usually identify the need in the market and penetrate so easily. After that, they come up with similar programs to play that role.

What does it cost to build a scalper bot?

The costs usually vary depending on the requirements of the project. The developers will as well charge differently depending on the experience and workload in redesigning the existing program. These programs can cost you up to millions of monies at their development levels.

Difference between scalper bots and standard bots

Scalper bots are developed through some methods and tactics while standard bots are designed in the most authentic manner.

Scalper bots are also well known to target specific resources instead of interfering at the central level.