Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey has promised that the social media giant will crack down on the increasing number of cryptocurrency scam accounts that have begun to proliferate in “Crypto Twitter.”
Over the past several months, an increasing number of industry figures with large Twitter followings have seen their profiles copied and used to scam naive followers into sending cryptocurrency to scammers’ wallets.
In the typical instance depicted below, a scammer creates an account that mimics the one belonging to Litecoin creator Charlie Lee. The fake account — whose Twitter handle is one character different from Lee’s actual one — replies to Lee’s post, claiming that he is holding a giveaway, but users must send him a small balance of LTC to contribute. Several other fake accounts then respond to this post, claiming that they received the free LTC, making it appear that the scheme is legitimate.
To make matters worse, a variety of Twitter users beset with these robotic doppelgangers have had difficulty getting their accounts verified, which would at least give their followers another way to distinguish between the real and fake accounts.
Twitter, though, says it is on the case.
“We are on it,” Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey wrote after Cornell professor Emin Gün Sirer tweeted that “[t]hese scams are getting out of hand.”
However, the company’s crusade against cryptocurrency scams has already inadvertently caught several legitimate accounts in its net. Kraken — the ninth-largest cryptocurrency exchange by daily trading volume — briefly saw its customer support account banned as a part of the anti-spam purge.
Others — including Coin Center communications director Neeraj Agrawal — reported that their accounts had been “shadow-banned” by the platform’s anti-spam algorithm, though it appears that such incidents have later been corrected.
Moreover, suspended accounts are quickly replaced with new ones, creating a cat-and-mouse game for Twitter’s moderators.
The scam artists have also begun adapting their methods to evade detection. As was the case with Charlie Lee’s impersonator above, many of the fake accounts have begun using shortened URLs to conceal the fact that they are linking to wallet addresses — indicating that Twitter is eyeing these types of posts with particular scrutiny.