Cryptocurrency scammers are currently using Twitter to take advantage of naïve investors looking to make some easy money. Often, the scammers pose as influential community members, and promise those that send them a specific cryptocurrency a reward a number of times greater than the initial donation.
Now, they even started hijacking verified accounts to look more credible.
According to Buzzfeed News, scammers recently managed to create a fake, verified Twitter account for Tron Foundation, the organization behind TRON (TRX). To do this, they seemingly hijacked the account of Literacy Bridge, a nonprofit based in Seattle that’s focused on “improving the health, income & quality of life for the world’s most underserved communities.”
After taking over Literacy Bridge’s verified account, the scammers changed its profile picture, pinned a tweet just like the one the real Tron Foundation has pinned, and changed the handle to “tronfoundationl” – notice the extra “l”.
To legitimize the move, these scammers then add fake replies to the tweet asking for donations. These replies usually claim they’ve received the funds and thank the person. These scammers are usually easy to spot, as they use recently created accounts, with usernames with extra letters, and without a blue checkmark only Twitter can give its users.
The amount of people falling for these scams is insane. The address the scammer is using currently has $20,000 worth of $ETH in it. #Twitter should do something, and please always look for the little blue badge #Ethereum @VitalikButerin pic.twitter.com/V7qUiEdftC
– Francisco Memoria (@FranciscoMemor) February 17, 2018
Using the fake account, the scammers then replied to a tweet posted by Justin Sun, Tron’s founder, asking for donations. The tweet, according to Buzzfeed, received over 200 likes and retweets, presumably thanks to the blue checkmark.
Some Twitter users noticed the change, and quickly spread the word.
Apparently somehow this fake acct got verified by @Twitter @TwitterSupport Seems like Twitter doesn’t care except the amount of growing fake users. @justinsuntron @Tronfoundation #trx #tron $trx #scam #fraud #FakeAccount @SupraMan1989 @Dr_strange1 @DigitalLawrence @Brad2pointO pic.twitter.com/FrxZmv0xlc
– Cr¥p7RoN_Kn¥ghT (@CrYp7RoN_KnYghT) February 23, 2018
Geoff Goldberg, a Twitter user who frequently calls out spam accounts, spotted the fake Tron Foundation. Speaking to Buzzfeed News, he stated:
“I saw it was a verified account so immediately was intrigued. To me, it was clear it was a scam, given that I have been encountering these for quite some time. But to others, given the verified account, I could totally see people falling for it.”
After BuzzFeed and the Tron Foundation reported the fake account, it got taken down. This, however, wasn’t an isolated incident. Hackers seemingly managed to hijack another verified Twitter account belonging to a luxury menswear design team in London, going by “adaxnik.” After hijacking his account, the hackers then spoofed Justin Sun’s account.
Some individuals and groups have counterfeited TRON official account and published untrue information lately. Please identify our official accounts carefully based on the following picture, thank you for your cooperation and strong support. @Tronfoundation @justinsuntron pic.twitter.com/dNvapwrDOy
– Tron Foundation (@Tronfoundation) February 22, 2018
At press time, Tron’s founder seemingly has two verified accounts on Twitter. One of them is trying to help users stay safe and expand Tron’s reach. The other one claims there’s a Tron airdrop on the way, and is sending users a link to a fake website I wouldn’t dare click on.
Twitter may have a share of the blame as well, as it’s supposed to remove verified accounts once their username changes. At the end of the day, Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao, who recently got his Twitter account verified, makes things clear:
DON’T TRUST ANYONE ASKING FOR OR OFFERING MONEY ON TWITTER.
– CZ (@cz_binance) February 18, 2018