Photographer: Michael Nagle

Twitter Is a Hotbed for Crypto Scams

  • Fraudsters ask for small deposit in return for larger amounts
  • Twitter suspended Kraken account for alerting users to scams

Here’s a quiz: which one of these Twitter accounts has received the extra layer of trust that comes from being a verified user? Kraken, one of the largest cryptocurrency exchanges in the world, or Chris Giancarlo, the head of the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission?

If you said Giancarlo, sorry. The verification issue on Twitter isn’t just about the inner workings of a social media giant, but a window into the proliferating digital currency scams that are infecting the platform. In some cases accounts that are fraudulent have nonetheless received the blue check that symbolizes Twitter verification, and have gone on to unfurl their fraud on the site, Buzzfeed reported on Feb. 23.

In a strange twist, the verified account that provides customer service to Kraken users said on Tuesday that it had been banned from Twitter for trying to alert its customers to the various ways thieves are stealing digital assets online.

“Looks like you’re on your own now," the verified Kraken account said in announcing the news. Under the tweet were several replies with the very type of scam that has resulted in hundreds or maybe even thousands of people having their digital assets stolen. The fraudulent offer promises to send a large amount of Ether in exchange for an initial small deposit. One such scam showed it had $332 worth of Ether at the address it advertised.

Jack Dorsey, the chief executive officer and co-founder of Twitter who himself sports a verified account, said on Feb. 26 that his company was aware of the verified account issue and “are fixing” the problem. Despite many users reporting fraudulent tweets, they continue to appear. As of this writing, Giancarlo is still unconfirmed, but Kraken did get its ban lifted for its customer support account.

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