Democrats Reintroduce Bill to Ban Grinch Bots From Stealing Christmas

Published · Dec 03, 2021

On November 29, 2021, Representative Paul Tonko, Senator Richard Blumenthal, Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer, and Senator Ben Ray Luján reintroduced the Stopping Grinch Bots Act. The bill bans the use of scalper bots to buy holiday toys in bulk and sell them at higher prices.

Scalper bots are automated programs that purchase large quantities of goods on sale much faster than any user can.

With the holiday season just around the corner, the Grinch bots are a serious threat to the Christmas spirit. The Democratic lawmakers recognized the danger and decided to act.

“Allowing Grinch bots to rig prices and squeeze consumers during the holiday season hurts American families, small business owners, product makers, and entrepreneurs,'' says Paul Tonko. “We will not allow this market manipulation to go unchecked,” he adds.

Using Technology for Malicious Purposes

Originally, scalpers used automated bots to buy and resell event tickets. This led to the introduction of the Better Online Ticket Sales Act of 2016. The bill outlawed the use of scalper bots to buy large amounts of tickets and resell them.

The Stopping Grinch Bots Act was first introduced in November 2019. It worked in the same way as the 2016 BOTS Act. It aimed to stop scalper bots from bypassing security measures on ecommerce stores and reselling products at higher prices.

Unfortunately, this was not enough to prevent the usage of this technology for malicious purposes. This called for the reintroduction of the bill in an attempt to ramp up security measures and regulations.

There are plenty of legal, harmless ways to resell goods and services. What’s more, there are many ways in which people use technology for malicious purposes.

A few examples include ransomware, phishing, identity theft, and other sinister social engineering practices.

Grinch scalpers do not pose a threat to people’s identity or privacy. However, they do put a strain on consumers (and retailers!) during an already financially challenging period.

The hope is that the reintroduction of the Act will ramp up efforts to stop the shady resellers’ attempts to steal Christmas.

Aleksandra Yosifova
Aleksandra Yosifova

With an eye for research, Aleksandra is determined to always get to the bottom of things. If there’s a glitch in the system, she’ll find it and make sure you know about it.