Users on Twitter are receiving messages claiming to be from “Twitter Support” urging them to act quickly to avoid being banned, often even from users with a blue tick. But these are almost certainly scams – here’s what to look out for and what it would look like if Twitter actually had to contact you.
First of all, just as a general rule, Any message from someone you don’t know on any platform you use should be viewed with suspicion. don’t follow any Links or instructions, and if you’re not sure, take a screenshot and send it to a friend for help!
Regarding today’s problem: DM spam.
This type of trick goes by different names depending on what scammers are after. They could be phishing attacks trying to trick you into giving up personal or financial information. But it could be a more elaborate, long-term plan to gain access to high-profile accounts.
The springboard method
Here’s how it works: First, you do a few spray-and-pray style messages to get a few people to click through to one of the many methods to get their credentials, be it social engineering (“Please check Your current password”) or a fake app (“Please refresh Twitter”) or a more serious device-level takeover. This puts the scammers in control of a handful of real people’s accounts.
Using these accounts, they continue to spam DMs and use the accounts’ legitimacy to disguise their nefarious activities. This gets them more accounts, and if they’re lucky, they jump to more popular accounts, like a verified account that the user who opened their DMs is following.
Once they take over a Blue Check account, they might change the name to something like “Urgent Support” and start sending legitimate-looking alerts to the undoubtedly thousands of followers such a user will have.
How to spot a scam and protect yourself. A message a TechCrunch reporter received from a verified account today read as follows:
Twitter Support | violation
We’ve noticed a lot of suspicious login attempts on your account lately.
We care about the security of verified accounts.
Your account will be blocked within 24-48 hours for security reasons. If you do not do this, you will need to submit a complaint form to us so that your account is not suspended and we can investigate.
[link to innocuous looking non-Twitter domain]
In any case, we will contact you again via this channel.
Thank you for your understanding,
Twitter Help Account.
Many people will see the verified account, a small warning text that looks like boilerplate, and just click the link. How are they supposed to know what a Twitter suspension warning looks like? They’re not internet sleuths, and frankly, they shouldn’t need to be to protect their account, but that’s the reality of social media today.
Luckily, spotting a scam is very easy and you can protect yourself with the following steps.
How to recognize a fraudulent DM
First, there are a few red flags with the message itself.
- Twitter will never direct message you about account issues. This type of communication is generally through the email associated with the account. Think about it: If Twitter thinks a scammer may have taken over your account, will they DM that account? No – they have a secure line to your email that only they know about. “When we contact you, we will never ask for your password and our emails are only sent from /,” said a Twitter representative. When you receive a text message, it comes from 40404.
- The sender is not Twitter. Again, Twitter wouldn’t use this channel at first, but the news isn’t even coming from them. If you look at the person’s profile, you’ll see that it’s a random person, or an “egg” as we used to call them.
- The link goes to a place you’ve never heard of. Of course, you don’t have to go to scam-links.xxx to be suspicious! Links can be, and often are, in every message, DM or email, or even online designed be misleading. This link to twitter.com actually goes to Google, for example. Only follow links in messages or emails that you know are authentic – if you’re not sure, don’t!
- The language is kinda wrong. Not everyone will respond to this, but upon closer reading it is clear that this is unlikely to have come from a native English speaker – and a Twitter communication in English would certainly be in clear, error-free language. It will be the same in other languages - if you notice something odd, even if you’re not sure, alarm bells should be ringing!
So what should you do if you receive a message that looks fraudulent? It is the safest ignore and delete. If you want, you can Report it to Twitter using the instructions here.
Protect yourself with two-factor security
The best thing you can do to protect yourself from such scams is turn on two-factor authentication., sometimes called 2FA or MFA (multi-factor authentication). We have a whole guide for that here:
2FA is in your Twitter security settings and also in the security settings for many of your other online apps and services. What two-factor authentication does is simply verify you directly via a secure “authenticator” app, asking you, “Are you trying to log into Twitter?”. If you see this message and don’t log in to Twitter, something is wrong!
When you want to sign in, you’ll be asked for a number generated by the authenticator app that only you can see, or sometimes by text (although this method is being phased out). These numbers should only be entered on the login screen and should never be shared with anyone else.
If you have 2FA enabled, even if you accidentally give some credentials to a scammer, when you try to log in, a scammer will check back with you to be sure. This is an incredibly helpful thing in today’s dangerous cybersecurity environment!
That’s all – now you and anyone you choose to share won’t get scammed like that on Twitter. If you’re looking to further increase your cybersecurity skills, check out our Cybersecurity 101 Series.
https://techcrunch.com/2022/08/05/that-message-from-twitter-support-is-almost-certainly-fake/ That message from ‘Twitter Support’ is almost certainly fake – TechCrunch