Scalping: Can It Be Prevented, and How?

Scalping has been around since people needed tickets. It refers to people buying tickets in bulk for an event and then reselling them at a profit. Most events have their tickets on sale online today, and scalpers have automated the process. Automated scalping means that scalpers take a position at the front of the line and buy very many tickets.

If you are an event organizer, it is essential to protect yourself and the event from scalpers if you are selling your tickets online. Bear in mind that scalpers use ticket scalping bots to ensure that they purchase as many tickets as possible. People in line to buy tickets will find that they sell-out in a short time and will not buy one.


Scalping is illegal because it does not serve the ticket seller but the scalpers. Ticket sales are meant to benefit the event venue and the performers. When scalpers buy the tickets and sell them at a profit, performers do not get the money. Companies should ensure that they have systems in place to prevent ticket scalping.

That is because if you do not have any protections against scalping, you could get sued. Ticketmaster, which did not have any protections and encouraged scalpers, was sued in 2018 for unfair and unlawful business practices.

How To Prevent Scalpers

To ensure that they succeed, scalpers automate the process by using scalping bots. They attack websites using the following stages.

Monitoring and targeting

Scalpers use bots to scour the internet looking for exceptional events that many people would like to attend. They will check retail sites and social media and create accounts that they can use later to purchase tickets.

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Scalper bots then start buying the tickets and make very many purchases.

To avoid detection bots, use residential proxy networks. That ensures that each request is from a different and legitimate IP address. They can also distribute servers so that they are closer to a retailer or the event website.

Automated Checkout

The bots ensure that they automate the checkout process. They create accounts and make payments from several credit cards. By rotating the credit cards, they can avoid getting detected. They also use a variety of billing profiles for each item they buy. They also use a variety of names, credentials, and address formats.

Disadvantages of Scalping

Here are the disadvantages of ticket scalping.

  • Inflated prices.

Customers will have to pay very high prices for their tickets when they buy them from scalpers. That may mean that a lot of genuine fans may not be able to afford your event.

  • Loss of Fanbase.

If the tickets are scalped, many fans will be disappointed and will no longer purchase your tickets. Remember that you make money by selling merchandise at events or stores, and if fans lose interest in your brand, you will lose a lot of revenue.

There are several ways to prevent ticket scalping and protect your revenue and your fans. These include the following methods.

Block Obsolete Browsers

You can prevent bot attacks by blocking older browsers. This method works because scalping bots use outdated browsers, and when you block these scalping bots will not be able to access your site.

Rate Limit

Bots, as mentioned above, use automation to speed up the purchase process. If you set a rate limit for mobile applications, APIs, and websites, you will be able to prevent bots from accessing your website.

Block Hosting Providers

You can block hosting providers used by scalpers such as Choopa, OVH Hosting, OVH SAS, and Digital Ocean. If you block them, scalpers will not be able to get onto your website.

Monitor the site

Make sure that you monitor your site for unsuccessful logins. If you notice several unsuccessful logins, then it is likely that someone is trying to get into your site.

Device Fingerprinting

Bots need to buy a large number of tickets quickly and therefore cannot keep changing devices. They use incognito mode, change browsers, and clear caches but will not use different devices.

Using device fingerprinting, you can identify device paraments that do not change for several sessions. That is a sign someone is trying to connect over and over again.

Browser Validation

Bots can sometimes pretend to run a browser and cycle through several user agents to avoid getting detected. You can prevent this by establishing the identity of every user browser. It is advisable to do this by ensuring browsers have the expected JavaScript agent and behave like you would expect a human to.

Reputation Analysis

There are several well-known bots, and they have predictable technical and behavior patterns. It is advisable to access a bot patterns database that you can use to identify well-known bots. Cross-referencing the traffic with your database will ensure that you do not mistake bots for actual human users.

Machine Learning Behavioral Analysis

Human users behave predictably online and on retail sites. Since a bot is a machine, it behaves differently from a human being, but these differences are difficult to notice early.

You can use an analysis of website engagement, URL requests, mobile swipes, and mouse movements. These can help you identify suspicious behavior and, therefore, identify scalping bots.

Progressive Challenges

It is essential to carefully check for bots to ensure that you do not disrupt other legitimate website users. If genuine human users have problems on your site, they will leave, and that will cost you revenue. An excellent way to do this is using progressive challenges so that bots will fail.

These challenges can be cookies, Javascript, or CAPTCHA. Check if the user accepts cookies that are invisible to human users. Javascript will determine whether the bot renders Javascript, while CAPTCHA checks whether the bot performs complex actions.

It is essential to take steps to stop scalpers. Scalpers can affect your business and lower your revenue. Having top-of-the-line protections against scalping will also enhance your customers trust in you and your business practices.

As mentioned above, ensure that you have excellent protection against scalpers as you could get sued if you do not and encourage scalping.

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About the author

Pamela Orange

Pamela Orange is a Professional Blogger, Freelance Writer, Digital Marketer and Positive Thinker. She loves to write inspiring posts on self-improvement, technology, blogging, seo, family, relationships, sports, health and other aspects of life.