Crypto Pet Peeves — Twitter Scam Bots
Ethereum giveaway scam bots are the pet peeve of any cryptocurrency Twitter user, with these malicious accounts littering the comment sections of tweets. Nearly everyone in this nascent community has seen them, but for those who don’t know what these bots are, here’s a bit of an explanation.
These so-called “giveaway scam bots” are fraudulent Twitter accounts that pose as celebrities, entrepreneurs or even cryptocurrency personalities to garner attention or cryptocurrencies. The most notable cases of these scams include Twitter ‘giving away ETH’ scams, with scammers requesting for users to send a certain amount of Ether to an address, in exchange for a substantially larger payout. Obviously, nothing ever comes of these requests, as the unfortunate few who send their funds to the addresses never receive anything in return.
As reported by Ethereum World News, cybersecurity researchers recently uncovered that there were upwards of 15,000 individual accounts dedicated to garnering scammed cryptocurrency. While this figure may not tell the whole story, with bots getting banned left and right, Duo Security’s search spanned 88 million Twitter accounts, so the firm’s claims hold some credence at the very least.
These pesky scam bots have become so widespread that Vitalik Buterin, a well-known co-founder of Ethereum, had to go as far as changing his username to set his account apart from scam accounts. Along with changing his name, the Ethereum co-founder even called out Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey to fix the issue.
Moreover, not only has this issue affected well-known individuals in the crypto community, but it has also affected mainstream celebrities, with accounts being made in the likeness of Elon Musk’s Twitter page being seen on a near-daily basis. In fact, these accounts have become so common that Elon Musk himself acknowledged them, poking fun at the “scambots” concept in the following tweet.
I want to know who is running the Etherium scambots! Mad skillz …
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) July 8, 2018
While the extent of these scams is easily apparent, little is known about the operation itself, or the people behind it. But as Boing Boing reports, Adam Guerbuez, a cryptocurrency evangelist, recently received some insight on this whole scam bot debacle.
Up Close And Personal With A Scam Bot Operator
Guerbuez, the aforementioned cryptocurrency evangelist and personality, first encountered this form of cryptocurrency scam on his Twitter, with an account promising his followers “free” Ethereum. While Guerbuez obviously knew that this tweet was made in malintent, out of curiosity, he asked the scammer if they could discuss the whole operation.
Oddly enough, the scammer agreed, likely due to the fact that the operator was a big fan of Guerbuez’s social media outlets. According to the unnamed individual, these scams can rake in upwards of $50,000 a day, with a good day potentially pulling in a staggering $100,000 in Ethereum. While the claims were not backed up by any evidence, taking into account the prevalence of these scams, it is more than likely that these figures are well warranted.
The scammer went on to explain the inner workings of his/her/their operations, adding that the bots are run by small teams that enlist the help of many automated practices. The scammer wrote:
“Well, the process from generating accounts, to tweeting to rotating ETH wallet address is all done automatic by our bots. The only manual process is cashing out.”
Closing off the interview, the scammer, referred to as “ETHGiveaway” by Boing Boing, explained that Twitter verified accounts (the accounts with a blue checkmark beside their name) while costing upwards of $1,000, are of no use to scammers anymore, as “mooches (scammed individuals) will send ETH to any account we make.”
Although Twitter may be doing its best to crack down on these scams, it is still evident that these fraudulent accounts are as common as ever in this nascent cryptosphere.