Scammers trawling for would-be victims on Twitter are turning to a new – and troubling – tactic: obtaining accounts that have been verified by the social media company itself.
Last week, it emerged that fraudsters had moved to create accounts that mimic the Tron Foundation and its founder, Justin Sun, according to a report from BuzzFeed. The publication discovered that one of the fake verified accounts in question, @TronFoundationl, copied the real Tron Foundation's Twitter content and even went as far as duplicating its pinned tweet, which warned users to beware of imposter accounts.
The account defrauded users by posting a link to a cryptocurrency wallet and soliciting donations in ether, promising to send 4 to 10 ether back to the first 200 users that make "contributions." Indeed, the move appears to be an escalation of previous attempts to defraud Twitter users, wherein scammers simply created their own fraudulent accounts in an attempt to copy developers and other well-known people in the cryptocurrency space.
And while Twitter rules mandate that accounts lose their verified status when they change their names, several fraudulent accounts have managed to maintain their verification badges, which are signified by a blue check mark next to the account's handle.
"If an account changes its username, it should lose its verified status," said a spokesperson for the company. "Any instance of this not occurring is an error."
The leader in news and information on cryptocurrency, digital assets and the future of money, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups.