Cyber bot scams are taking over toy sales this holiday season
Fighting cyber bots. It's the trend many are calling the Grinch that is stealing Christmas.
"It is upsetting because this is the season that we have given so much importance to," said financial adviser Harjit Arora.
She said the computer programs that have been around for many years — purchasing items like concert tickets and reselling them on third party sites for higher prices — have now found a new target: Popular kids' toys.
"That's what is happening. They're hacking the system," she said.
Now, parents that had been saving up all year to get their children the toys they wanted are left with an unfair chance of getting them online because bots can check out faster than humans.
"You can't compete with bots. It takes them milliseconds when it takes us minutes," she said.
Arora said that the toys are then sold online range from twice to even four times the retail price. Her concern is some retailers might not care, as long as they can sell all of their products. Even if they did try to set laws or a certain software to block bots, she fears hackers would find ways to fight back.
"Laws are good as they are used. Scalpers will be there, and these bots can be very good scalpers," she said.
Harjit added she hopes retail stores will find ways to hold some of their products for people that agree to pay for them ahead of time, before bots can get to them.