If there’s another Elon Musk out there, it just became a little bit harder for them to join Twitter.
Thanks to cryptocurrency scams, Twitter is now automatically locking any account set up on the website that makes its display name “Elon Musk.” Users who change their display name to Musk’s will be greeted by a Twitter locked account page requiring the user to solve a Google reCAPTCHA as well as verify their phone number.
Twitter is taking this step after a barrage of cryptocurrency “giveaway” scams have inundated its platform.
The scam is actually quite simple to pull off. A fake account is set up to resemble an influential tech or cryptocurrency figure’s account as closely as possible. Elon Musk, with all the mainstream attention surrounding his companies, has been a very popular target.
When a Twitter celebrity tweets, the scammer with the fake account that mimics the target’s jumps into action. A fake Elon account tells real Elon’s followers that if they send cryptocurrency to the link included in a tweet, they will get multiples of the cryptocurrency sent back to them in return.
As we’ve previously discovered, many Twitter users aren’t spotting the difference between real Elon and fake Elon and are falling for it, sending their crypto to fake Elon but receiving nothing in return.
While the scammers have been bilking trusting Twitter users out of all sorts of cryptocurrency, the scam seems to have had a focus on Ethereum. The scammer problem has been so bad surrounding Ethereum that even Elon Musk pointed out the magnitude of bots pretending to be him in his replies.
I do wish @elonmusk’s first tweet about ethereum was about the tech rather than the twitter scambots……..@jack help us please? Or someone from the ETH community make a layer 2 scam filtering solution, please? https://t.co/biVRshZmne
— Vitalik “Not giving away ETH” Buterin (@VitalikButerin) July 9, 2018
Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin is very aware of the problem and has begged Twitter to intervene and do something about the problem. He’s pleaded for help not just via his tweets but also by changing his display name to Vitalik “Not giving away ETH” Buterin. Buterin also put a disclaimer in his Twitter bio “Not giving away ETH.”
Well, it seems like with this step Twitter is finally stepping up to the plate and doing something about it. As Gizmodo points out, Twitter’s locked account measures are happening for accounts set up to mimic other tech figures too.
But scammers are already working on finding ways to get around this new security measure. Just yesterday we reported on an old FOX show’s verified Twitter account being hacked to partake in this very scam. The formerly dormant @AlmostHumanFOX Twitter account was pretending to be Justin Sun, the founder of TRON, an influential blockchain company.
As the owner of a non-dormant verified account, I checked to see if a person in control of a verified account would be able to change its display name to say, Elon Musk, without issue.
While Twitter’s security updates might make scammers’ lives harder, try as it might, its clear these kinds of scams are from over on Twitter.
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