News - Investigation counts 95,000 scams on Twitter

By Mike Hesp

Investigation counts 95,000 scams on Twitter

Scams, crime and fraud

Scams involving cryptocurrencies flourish on social media. 95,000 scams lure users with alleged giveaways on X, formerly Twitter.

The crypto business is a breeding ground for all kinds of scams. In social media, you increasingly read about alleged "giveaways" - promotions where cryptocurrencies are supposedly given away. Fake profiles of famous people are often used for this purpose. Researchers at San Diego State University show the extent on the short messaging platform X, formerly Twitter. About 95,000 scam lists were counted.

Beware of crypto gifts on X (Twitter)

When Vitalik Buterin or Elon Musk hand out crypto gifts, alarm bells should go off. Chances are they are scammers taking advantage of their notoriety. The pattern is often the same. Cryptocurrencies are supposedly sent to an address and in return one supposedly receives a higher amount in return.

Scientists have a "fully automated fraud detection system" developed which tracks this form of crypto rip-off. The "GiveawayScamHunter" examines Twitter lists based on notable fraud schemes and extracts fraudulent crypto wallets.

Between June 2022 and June 2023, this tracked 95,111 scam lists on Twitter, "created by thousands of Twitter accounts." Assessments had shown that "the fraudsters combined several strategies to spread the fraud, including compromising popular accounts and creating spam accounts on Twitter."

Tracking spam accounts

About 44 percent of the spam accounts were still active, he said. "In addition, we collected 327 free giveaway domains and 121 new addresses for fraudulent cryptocurrencies." Tracking the transactions had uncovered more than 365 victims, with an estimated financial loss of US$872,000, he said.

Overall, the findings "highlight the urgent need for effective detection and prevention mechanisms to protect social media users from such fraudulent activities," the researchers said. Between 2020 and 2022, there had been a significant increase. For this year, the trend is downward. But this could also be due to a weaker crypto market, according to the study. In the past, the number of scams increased with rising prices.

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