Nvidia graphics cards are being auctioned off on eBay for ridiculously high prices as gamers attempt to secure new PC hardware during Nvidia’s ongoing shortage. Scalpers have taken advantage of the situation by using bots to purchase multiple graphics cards at a time. Now, sellers are attempting to trick the scalpers into buying fake Nvidia RTX 3080 cards, but their strategy is tricking real gamers instead of bots.
Nvidia RTX 3080 Graphics cards have been in short supply since they launched in September 2020. The cards sold out instantly on Nvidia’s website, and many were expected to have been purchased by scalpers who later resold them to turn massive profits. Angered gamers responded by posting fake bids for Nvidia cards on sites like eBay in an attempt to fool the scalper bots. While Nvidia's cards were briefly available after launch, they have once again become the target of scalpers after the company launched its RTX 3060 cards in February.
In response, some sellers have returned to posting fake RTX 3080 listings in an effort to trick the bots. The listings include photos of the Nvidia cards, but what is truly being sold is buried in the product description. These fake products have included items such as a fake plastic card and even just a Jpeg image that is sent to the buyer’s email after purchase. But while the sellers make sure to include that the products are fake in the description, some gamers have taken the bait anyway, only to find out later that the card they purchased was fake.
While the fake listings seem to be a well-meaning way to get back at scalpers, they rarely get purchased by their targets. Most bots have been designed to avoid such fake listings, and humans have a habit of rushing to purchase something if it seems like a good deal, especially if the item they are looking for is in short supply.
In January, Nvidia announced that its RTX 30 series would be hard to come by until April or May, as the company attempted to improve supply chains to keep up with demand. The cause of the shortage can be attributed to the ongoing U.S.-China trade war and complications in production brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, and scalpers have only exasperated the problem by buying up Nvidia’s new products as soon as they become available.
Scalpers have made an estimated $6.3 million off the RTX 3080 cards alone. Scalpers have also targeted AMD’s products, as well as the new PlayStation and Xbox consoles. Some citizens have grown so frustrated with the issue that they have turned to their governments to crack down on scalpers, and members of the UK government are currently considering taking action against the issue.
On Monday, December 14, politicians in the United Kingdom put forth a motion to ban increasingly unpopular scalpers and automated bots. This early day motion focuses specifically on the sale of gaming consoles and computer components.
Early day motions are typically concise, single sentence declarations that aim to draw attention to specific issues. At this time, 10 members of the Scottish National Party have put forth their signature in support of the motion.
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