Consumer Reports: The Bot That Stole Christmas

It's not just Black Friday parents that are snatching those hard to find Christmas presents up before you can find them, but hi-tech software.

(Published Thursday, Nov. 23, 2017)

Many parents know that feeling of dread when you can’t get your hands on the hot toy of the holiday season.

What you might not realize is that it’s not just high demand that’s making these items scarce — it’s actually hi-tech, high-speed software robots that snatch up the sought after toys before you can get them in your cart. Once they buy up as many as they can, they turn around and sell them on the secondary market at a premium.

The Texas Thunder Truck captured the immediate aftermath of a rollover crash on westbound Interstate 30 in Fort Worth while live on air Tuesday morning. Witnesses told NBC 5 Reporter Larry Collins that one person had minor injuries. It's not clear what caused the crash, though roads were very slick due to a heavy downpour at the time of the incident.

(Published Tuesday, Oct. 16, 2018)

Scalpers have used this technology for years to snatch up tickets to concerts or sporting events. The BOTS Act — or Better Online Ticket Sales Act of 2016 — tried to end that practice, but the law only applies to tickets, leaving scalpers to move on to things like toys or sneakers.

It's not illegal, but many feel that bot users should go on the naughty list.

So how do you get the must-have toy without getting played? Bree Fowler, of Consumer Reports, said you won’t beat the bots, so try to get ahead of the trend.

When there are pre-orders for things like Nintendo systems, you can get online and try your best. It also pays to shop early. Get in before the hype. CR also recommends finding out what the actual retail price is so that you aren’t gouged by a reseller.

Two men in Houston are banned from a local gun range for life after they tried to take a selfie, with one of the men holding a gun to his buddy's head. Video courtesy of Top Gun Range.

(Published Thursday, Oct. 11, 2018)