As holiday shoppers flock online to purchase gifts, so do the online ‘Grinch bots,’ trying to get an edge on competitors. Shockingly, up to 97% of online traffic during the height of digital shopping season come from bots. According to one researcher, organized cyber criminal groups operate the majority of these bots.

The bots seek out coveted retail items, trying to snatch them up in order to make a high profit on their resale. They’re able to navigate website forms and pages far faster than a human can. Cyber thieves also work to break into accounts in order to steal rewards that customers may have earned within their accounts, steal credit card information, and other traditional cyber theft activities.

During an average day, online retailers will see human shoppers outnumber bots by an average of two to one. During the holiday season, especially on peak days, such as Black Friday and Cyber Monday, retailers can expect bots to outnumber human shoppers at a rate of twenty to one.

How can you ensure that your screen names aren’t compromised by bots?  Experts recommend the following steps to mitigate ‘Grinch bots’ this holiday season:

  • Ensure that your online shopping accounts are secure by using unique passwords
  • Use multi-factor authentication
  • Opt out of saving your credit card information to online shopping profiles.

If you miss out on the purchase of limited edition or high-demand items, avoid buying from a third-party website. You may be funding hackers or scammers on phony sites.

To read more about the how ‘Grinch bots’ are affecting online holiday shopping, check out this NBC News story.