Fraud Attacks on Limited-Edition Footwear Are Spiking, Thanks to Bots

As consumer shopping habits increasingly skew digital, fraudsters are finding more complex ways to conduct their scams online.

A biannual report recently released by e-commerce fraud prevention company Forter revealed that attacks on online apparel and accessories increased 47 percent year over year, with common scams including high-volume purchases and their subsequent reselling. One of the main culprits: Internet bots, which are capable of running automated tasks at startling rates of speed — think upwards of 100 attacks per second.

“Fraud techniques are ever-evolving, and online criminals are growing more sophisticated in their methods and capabilities,” the report read. “Instead of launching one-off attacks, they are turning more often to automation, leveraging bot attacks at scale and collaborating with other fraudsters to create powerful fraud rings with a breadth of knowledge.”

Among the more frequent targets are new releases of limited-edition footwear because of the ease of buying in bulk — which isn’t as suspicious as purchases made in the electronics, jewelry and luxury industries, for example — as well as their ability to hit the resale market with a higher return on investment.

“Limited-edition footwear — and particularly sneakers — are a hot commodity among collectors and resellers, making them an equally attractive target for bad actors,” Forter co-founder and CEO Michael Reitblat told FN. “Around new releases, fraudsters are increasingly leveraging automated bots, which enable them to purchase shoes very quickly and at great scale using stolen credentials. They’re then able to resell the shoes on third-party sites at a high ticket price to turn a quick profit.”

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