Recently, the developer and co-founder of Ethereum made the following post on twitter,
There may be a few smaller ones but nothing mainstream. Everything else I either don’t use or is a scam.
— Vitalik Non-giver of Ether (@VitalikButerin) July 5, 2018
So what exactly made Buterin give the official links to all of his social media accounts?
Apparently the cryptomoghul has also altered his official name on Twitter from Vitalik Buterin to Vitalik non-giver of Ethereum. The need for this change has been fueled because of the increasing amount of hacking cases being reported all over Twitter. Hackers have been using the social media accounts of prominent people in the industry to scam people of their cryptocurrencies, so that people will believe that the source is authentic. However, Buterin is not the only tech expert whose twitter account has been impersonated or hacked in order to rob cryptocurrencies from people.
The original account of Vitalik Buterin has almost 840K followers on Twitter. The impersonated account had a twitter approved status as well which displayed a post that claimed that on sending him a particular amount of crypto, they will receive more. More accurately, 0.3 – 0.5 in ETH or bitcoin and 3 – 50 ETH or Bitcoin will be sent back. The scammer tried to pressurize the followers by telling them that this offer would stand for a limited time only. An address was also provided in the tweet where the coins were supposed to be sent.
This fraudulent activity was pretty simple in nature, nevertheless many people still became victim to this scam. The accounts the hacker hacked to carry out the scams belong to reputable contributors to the field of cryptocurrencies, that is essentially why a lot of people fell for the scam. The hacker even aided his cause by having fake accounts tweet back about the legitimacy of the giveaway.
An imposter also posed as the British American programmer and a very high profile celebrity on twitter, John McAfee. The imposter practiced the same technique which Buterin’s implicator did. The reward was slightly lesser in this one. Sending 0.02 returned 0.20 in Bitcoin. He further mentioned that this was his way of thanking the community for their support.
Elon Musk, the owner of Tesla, also got his identity hacked on Twitter with the same old technique, making the same bogus claims. It was announced on the fake account that he would be giving out 4,000 ETH to all his fans and followers. By limiting the number of participants allowed to participate in the giveaway, the hacker tempted more and more investors to fall for the fraudulent tweet.
Due to multiple attacks being reported, twitter has also actively taken up measures to prevent this kind of activity from happening again. They also urged that if a user ever witnesses a similar instance they should immediately report it. A spokesman from Twitter told,
We are aware of coordinated spam activity around cryptocurrencies and related software products. The malicious use of automation, impersonation, and other deliberate attempts to deceive are prohibited under the Twitter Rules. Our teams are overseeing a technological process of batch suspending these networks of offending accounts at scale and at speed. If anyone sees suspicious account behaviour relating to these issues, they should block the user immediately and report them directly to our dedicated support teams.
Even now, there are lot of accounts present on twitter that claim to award users with cryptocurrencies. It goes without saying that experts on cryptocurrencies would have the general sense to not fall for such a web of lies, it is the novices that need to be mindful of what they are investing in.
Briefly, twitter based scams are generally being carried out in the name of rather well known personalities, so it is best to stay away from such schemes, even if presented by a verified account.