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A new report from cyber security company Kasada (via 9To5Mac) claims that it has observed the use of bots by scalpers to automate the purchases of the iPhone 15 models. This reportedly led to thousands of iPhone 15 pre-orders.

The firm says it saw the same activity in the sales of Taylor Swift tickets and PS5 during the last holiday season. The report shares that scalpers perform the act using all-in-one (AIO) bots, which will automate purchases from start to end, ensuring they will get the supplies quickly. In the report, the company shows some examples of AIO bots being promoted online to automate the iPhone 15 purchase.

“Kasada has been witnessing successful botting activity to abuse the Apple iPhone Pro Max pre-ordering process,” Kasada shares. “More often than not, the activity is within the same communities and all-in-one (AIO) services that make their money scalping hype sneakers and electronics consoles.”

Needless to say, scalping is profitable, making the bots attractive to individuals who want to take advantage of the craze of certain products, not just iPhone 15. Last week, Bloomberg reported how lucrative it could be, even without the use of bots:

There appeared to be fewer scalpers outside the Wangfujing store compared with previous Apple releases. One scalper asked for an additional 1,000 yuan (S$190) from a potential customer who wanted an iPhone 15 Pro.

Premiums asked by other scalpers were similarly modest. Another, selling an iPhone 15 Pro Max with one terabyte of storage, asked for an extra 800 yuan. The iPhone 15 Pro with 512 gigabytes ran only 400 yuan to 500 yuan extra.

In Shanghai, the scalpers were making modest profits too.

The iPhone 15 Pro Max in titanium or white runs about 800 yuan over Apple’s retail price, one scalper said. 

Unfortunately, scalping — especially with bots — has an obvious negative impact on actual customers, resulting in long wait times and supply shortages at most times. On the other hand, while it is true that a company’s products will still sell with or without scalpers in the scene, such a practice could lead to brand reputation damage over time.

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