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20th of February 2018

Technology



Twitter Scammers Impersonate Celebs, Ask for Cryptocurrency

Twitter Bitcoin Scams

With illegitimate users attempting to pass themselves off as somebody else on a frequent basis, Twitter can feel like an epicenter of scams.

You've probably seen these kinds of accounts pop up on your feed. Some are pathetically obvious, like those that append letters to a celebrity's name and throw in a photo to make it appear, at first glance, that they are the real deal. Or perhaps someone is using the classic "a lowercase l looks a lot like an uppercase I" trick, or the old "a 0 is kind of like an uppercase O if someone isn't paying attention."

What's the point of posing as a celeb on Twitter? As BuzzFeed reports, a number of scammers are now trying to con people out of cryptocurrencies. It's a bit of a juxtaposition; those who are most easily duped into thinking "DoonaldTump65" is actually the president probably aren't very hip to Bitcoin, Ethereum, or other virtual currencies.

Nevertheless, the scammers persist.

"I'm donating 250 BITCOIN! to the BTC community! First 250 transactions with 0.2 BTC sent to the address below will receive 1.0 BTC in the address the 0.2 BTC came from," said one such account, @ElonMuski, in a reply to the real Elon Musk's Twitter account—one technique the scammers use to make their fake accounts appear legitimate.

Though the scams don't work on a massive scale, all it takes is a few fooled donors to rake in a healthy cryptocurrency pay day, depending on which currency a scammer asks users to contribute. And that's partly because bot networks amplify fake tweets with fake replies that detail how easy it is to get a free payout for a small donation.

Once you cough up some cryptocurrency, that's it. There's no way to get it back. And while these scams aren't exclusive to Twitter, they seem to have found a healthy home on the microblogging platform.

Twitter is working to address the growing problem, but hasn't provided details. "We're aware of this form of manipulation and are proactively implementing a number of signals to prevent these types of accounts from engaging with others in a deceptive manner," a Twitter spokesperson told BuzzFeed.

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