ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — It’s not the Grinch who is hogging up holiday gifts this year, but instead cyber “bots” that are in some ways, acting like him—by buying up hot ticket items in bulk within seconds, and then selling them at higher prices to consumers.
“It’s not really a robot, per se, it’s a subscription,” explained Mike Stamas co-founder of GreyCastle Security. ” I think the subscriptions are usually $300-$400 dollars a year, and it’s essentially assess to a supercomputer that enables us to be able to click multiple times to get access to maybe a limited quantity on a big screen tv, or a play station council, or a concert you might want to go to.”
Stamas said for some, this a way to make more money.
“Online retail has always been strong and now because of COVID, it’s even stronger. It’s very likely for someone to get a Black Friday bargin for a nice big screen tv, and then literally putting it on eBay, same day for 10, 20, 30 even 50 percent more depending on the deal they got,” said Stamas.
To help make it more fair for average consumers, Congressman Paul Tonko is in favor of the “Stopping Grinch Bots Act” that was introduced in the House in 2019. He said now especially with pandemic, people shouldn’t be forced to pay more for items.
“Families shouldn’t be further burdened,” stated Congressman Tonko. “If their children want a certain toy, or game, they shouldn’t be told that it’s no longer available or that they are paying an exorbitant price for that toy.”
If passed, this act will help prevent bots from buying up products.
“What it does is enable the FTC to have more power here,” explained Tonko. “By recognizing that this is a condition that allows them to step in and do whatever it takes to bring a reasonable outcome out there for families and small businesses.”
The bill is currently in committee and will be reintroduced in Congress at the start of the next session come January.
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