Concerned Twitter User Builds Bot to Combat Cryptocurrency Scams

March 6, 2018

As we’ve covered previously, Twitter-based “giveaway” scams are reaching epidemic proportions. One enterprising twitter user, is taking the fight to the scammers.

Some background on the Twitter scammers: networks of fake accounts are posting impromptu cryptocurrency sweepstakes under the guise of famous personalities, and less savvy people are sending them cryptocurrency in the hopes of winning.

Impersonated cyptocurrency-celebs include Vitalik Buterin, John McaFee, Charlie Lee, and scores of others. The grift is so successful that Vitalik, creator of the cryptocurrency and smart contract platform Ethereum, changed his name in protest of its activity in his tweets.

That’s a Twitter Scam: An Anti Scam, Anti Bot, Bot

In the last few weeks, these bots have become more sophisticated, varying their language with unicode homoglyphs and subtweeting each other to affirm the legitimacy of their fake raffle to potential victims:

example of a scam raffle post, DO NOT send crypto to this address.

These scams have been alarmingly effective, with many of the linked scam payment addresses showing a lifetime or unspent balance of press time.

Enter Twitter user @djbooth007, author of the @thatsascam — a crawler that alerts potential victims to these dubious giveaways, with an image and call to look at the fake account’s statuses and followers:

While we couldn’t get in touch with the bot’s author by press time, his work is a service to the larger community, and has already flagged a total of 27 Scam bots.

There does seem to be one hangup, however — the more bots the scammers add to their network, the less exposure That’s A Scam’s alerts get in the comment thread. Because this scam alert system can’t just create more supporting fake accounts, it relies on on community support to boost its signal. While we wait for Twitter to help moderate these schemes, anti-scam efforts will have to be assisted by other crypto enthusiasts:

Do you think this bot will prove helpful against Twitter scams? Share your thoughts in the comments below. 

Image via Pixabay

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