According to an article published earlier today, two of Bloomberg’s top crypto reporters are the latest to be targeted by scammers. Olga Kharif and Lily Katz have reportedly had their Twitter accounts spoofed and fraudsters have used their identities to illicit payments in crypto from naive followers.
Latest of Many High Profile Twitter Scams Involving Cryptocurrency
The premise of the scam is very simple. Fraudsters create a Twitter account that looks just like that of a respected member of the cryptocurrency or wider technology space and tells the followers of that person’s legitimate Twitter account that they’re giving away free crypto coins. All the naive Twitter user wanting to benefit from this supposed philanthropy needs do is send a small amount of digital currency to the personality to begin with.
The article published earlier today explains the timeline over which the scams have been running, along with the pair’s efforts to appeal to Twitter to get the fake accounts shutdown.
Despite this being one of the most blatant scams around, it’s proving to be rather successful. This is in part because of how money-hungry many newbies in the crypto community are and also because it’s so easy to set up these spam accounts. Roger Kay of Endpoint Technologies Associates commented for the Bloomberg article:
“Setting up a bot is easy-peasy… The sign-up probably takes longer than the programming.”
According to the Bloomberg article, the addresses associated with the fraudulent accounts have received around 10 Ether transactions over the last few weeks. These have been in the 0.5 to 1 ETH range. Whilst no one’s going to retire on such a scam, it’s clear that it is proving profitable.
Many other high profile technology and cryptocurrency personalities have been targeted by the scam. The two Bloomberg reporters follow the likes of Ethereum’s Vitalik Buterin and Tesla’s Elon Musk in having their online identities replicated. Vitalik has taken to trying to discourage the scammers himself by adding a disclaimer to his name that he isn’t giving away any free money. This is evidenced below in his latest Tweet.
Reminder: the correct resolution to the "can an omnipotent god make a rock so heavy that even he cannot lift it?" paradox is: yes, he can, but as soon as the rock is created he will no longer be omnipotent, he'll be 'omnipotent except for that darn rock'
Now you know.
— Vitalik "Not giving away ETH" Buterin (@VitalikButerin) May 22, 2018
Meanwhile, the community are appealing to Twitter to take a more proactive role in fighting back against such scammers targeting the cryptocurrency community. Despite Twitter reportedly working on fixes and Jack Dorsey claiming that his company is ‘trying to fight scams,’ many contest that Twitter could be working harder to this end. Kay added:
“My impression is that Twitter could do much more… The problem is that cleaning up the platform is detrimental to its business model.”
Luke McNamara of cyber security firm FireEye Inc. also opined as to why so many scammers had been drawn to cryptocurrency:
“This is a space where individuals are responsible for their own security… That’s why we’ve seen so many bad actors gravitating into this space.”
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