Despite all the advancements in technology and cybersecurity, bot scams are still very prevalent. T-Mobile is one of the latest victims of such bot frauds. Some eagle-eyed Redditors recently discovered that people from a tiny town in Pennsylvania have been winning a disproportionate number of T-Mobile Tuesdays giveaways.
T-Mobile offers prizes including discount coupons, gift cards, tech gadgets, vacations, and much more through its T-Mobile Tuesdays giveaway program. It is a free-to-enter contest for the residents of the US, not necessarily a T-Mobile customer.
You'd expect thousands of participants with a very small winning probability. However, a surprisingly huge portion of winners was coming from the tiny township of Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania. Nearly a third of the publicly listed winners of one of the contests came from the town.
In May, 15 of 100 $100 gift card winners were located in Chadds Ford. Likewise, three winners of $500 and five winners of $200 gift cards in March were supposedly from the town. A Reddit user noted that since the start of the T-Mobile Tuesdays program in 2018, there have been 24 Chadds Ford winners. The town has a total population of about 3,700.
In contrast, there have been only four winners from New York, 25 from Los Angeles, and 22 from Chicago. These cities have residents in millions.
Certainly, there was something fishy about it. Redditors were into guessing game quickly, with some theories suggesting it could be the result of accidental coding. Maybe entries that were missing zip codes appeared to be from the town.
However, it turns out it was a bot fraud. "The high number of Chadds Ford winners was related to bots submitting multiple entries," T-Mobile has confirmed to CNBC.
Bots kept winning T-Mobile Tuesdays giveaways
The CNBC report notes that this scam may have affected a relatively small amount of money. T-Mobile was anyway giving away the prizes, so it doesn't really impact the company at the financial level. However, bots winning away the prizes still cause frustration to some dedicated human T-Mobile Tuesdays players.
It also reminds us how simple it is for even "amateur hacker" to deploy bots for a purpose like this. "Tools that help conduct this kind of activity are widely available," the report adds. The scammer, in this case, used such tools to populate the fields in T-Mobile’s entry form while using their own Chadds Ford address.
T-Mobile says it has put in additional safety measures and continues to monitor the issue. The company doesn't detail how it addresses the issue, neither does it provide any specifics on who was behind the bots. Hopefully, the prize money will go to actual players from here on.