A new report reveals that Vision Pro scalpers used bots to place thousands of pre-orders for the device, with eBay ads appearing even before pre-orders opened. eBay listings showed prices of up to $10,000.
Although placing a Vision Pro order requires both an Apple ID and a face measurement, a company which works to help companies block bot activity says that these bots were able to circumvent the face check …
Kasada says that bot-makers were well prepared.
Over the past month, Kasada has observed chatter within the botting communities about their interest in the Apple Vision Pro in anticipation of one of the biggest scalping opportunities for 2024. Interest included developers updating modules within their existing bots (or adding support for Apple) including service providers offering AIO bots (all-in-one bots) for purchase to those willing to pay for it […]
Days before the pre-order event, people wanting to be one of the first to experience this new device could purchase a “confirmed pre-order” Pro Max 256GB on secondary marketplaces for up to $5,999 – more than a 70% markup.
All-in-one bots are able to complete the entire purchase process without manual intervention.
Kasada says that once pre-orders opened, it monitored bot activity to determine that they were successfully used to complete thousands of purchases. Just one of them was used to successfully check out 1,592 Vision Pro pre-orders.
Vision Pro scalpers circumvented blocks
Placing a Vision Pro pre-order was more complicated than most purchases, as it required both an Apple ID and a face scan. The firm speculates that as well as ensuring the correct size, this may have been intended by Apple as a barrier to scalpers. If so, this failed.
Apple IDs are available for purchase on the dark web, and others may have been created by scalpers in advance of pre-orders opening. As for the face measurement stage, bots were programmed to simulate carrying out the check, then send hard-coded data in response.
Although this means that all scalpers using a particular bot would end up with Vision Pro units customized to the same face (that of the bot developer), Apple’s return and exchange policy means that the end customers would be able to swap them out for the correct sizes.
Some bots are set up for store pickups
Kasada says that some bots are used to generate store pickups, so that face measurements can be conducted at the store to ensure the correct fit for an end-customer.
Users could search stock based on geography and go in-store to do the head scan using one of their devices, and checkout. A user could easily create another Apple ID if asked and repeat it at another Apple store. From the messages seen so far, they are doing this more in metropolitan areas, since Apple is more likely to have multiple stores and higher stock in such areas.
The irony is that legitimate day-one store pickups are still available in some locations.
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