A scalper is a piece of software designed to search eCommerce websites for specific items and purchase them, often clearing out inventory. These bots take advantage over real users by acquiring goods or services at a speed that no human could match.
Scalpers most often attack during peak holiday or seasonal sales, or during popular brand releases, when the demand is very high. The bots simply buy-out all the available stock, after which the person who is behind the attack can resell the goods or services at a higher than market value price. This kind of attack results in depleted inventory, high demand, customer dissatisfaction, and loss of customer loyalty.
Scalpers first became known for buying-out ticket sales for concerts and large events, in order to sell them for a higher price on the day of the event. In more recent years, scalper bots have plagued the online sneaker and gaming industries, driving demand very high and reselling shoes and gaming consoles at a huge markup.