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 issue even drew the attention of founder Jack Dorsey, who publicly commented on Monday that "we discovered this and are fixing the process."
Twitter login image via Shutterstock
The leader in news and information on cryptocurrency, digital assets and the future of money, CoinDesk is an award-winning media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. In November 2023, CoinDesk was acquired by Bullish group, owner of Bullish, a regulated, institutional digital assets exchange. Bullish group is majority owned by Block.one; both groups have interests in a variety of blockchain and digital asset businesses and significant holdings of digital assets, including bitcoin. CoinDesk operates as an independent subsidiary, and an editorial committee, chaired by a former editor-in-chief of The Wall Street Journal, is being formed to support journalistic integrity.