bid shielding
n. The practice of placing a low bid in an online auction and having a second person enter a bid that is high enough to discourage other bidders. At the last second, the high bid is retracted and the low bid wins.

Example Citations:
While online bidders have long worried whether the item they're buying will arrive in the promised condition — and sellers have wondered about being paid — these days they may also have to contend with "sniping," "bid shielding" and other bid manipulations.
—Monua Janah, "Online auction scams anger bidders," The San Jose Mercury, August 4, 1999

Bid shielding is an unethical practice of trying to block others from bidding. Here's how it works: One person bids $10 for a book and a colleague quickly bids $500, assuming that no one will overbid the inflated price. The high bidder retracts the bid at the last minute, giving the first person a $10 deal.
—Frances Ingraham Heins, "Online auctions can be fun; experts advise caution, doing your homework," Times Union (Albany, NY), August 21, 1999

Earliest Citation:
Other problems can arise from bid shielding, where a bidder and an associate make artificially high bids to discourage others from bidding, with the associate then dropping out to allow the bidder to win the auction with a lower offer.
—Vaughn Jones, "On-line sales in cyberspace," The Journal (Newcastle, England), February 11, 1999

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