Cybercrime is on the rise - and it is rising faster than ever before. With the awareness around cryptocurrencies at an all-time high, many cryptocurrency related scams have been reported of late. While major cryptocurrency related cyber-crime news centres around hacks and ransomware and the loss of data, there are some scammers who are using a rather simple technique to scam novice cryptocurrency users on Twitter.

These scammers are targeting the followers of popular celebrities such as Elon Musk, Vitalik Buterin, Changpeng Zhao etc. Their modus operandi is simple - they create fake accounts of these celebrities and ask people to give them a small amount of cryptocurrency in exchange for a large amount in return - i.e., something like - pay me 0.2 ETH and I will send you 2 ETH in return. They term it a ‘giveaway’, making innocent users believe that a rich guy is distributing money on Twitter!

These fake profiles often have convincing handles. They copy the profile picture and the name - and tweak the handle in a unique way. For example, Elon Musk’s fake account asking for ETH comes in the form of elonmuskik. The addition of ‘ik’ is often ignored by novice users as they focus only on the name and the profile picture, often without even seeing that the profile demanding 0.2 ETH doesn’t even have the blue tick mark proving that it is a verified account.

A closer look at some of these accounts will show you that they have been making a lot of money. These accounts post their wallet addresses and some of the early scammers scammed many people, with their wallet addresses showing hundreds of transactions daily. However, as the awareness around these scams began to rise, these transactions have declined but there are many who still fall prey to these tactics. 

This scam has led to Vitalik Buterin and Changpeng Zhao updating their names on their official Twitter account to Vitalik "No I'm not giving away ETH" Buterin and CZ (not giving crypto away). Twitter has taken notice of these scams and has started to take a strict action - banning accounts which are promoting such scams. 

"We're aware of this form of manipulation and are proactively implementing a number of signals to prevent these types of accounts from engaging with others in a deceptive manner," said a Twitter spokesperson while referencing Twitter's rules on such behavior:

These scammers are operating against the rules of Twitter. The spokesperson particularly pointed out towards the following rules:

Malware/Phishing: You may not publish or link to malicious content intended to damage or disrupt another person's browser or computer or to compromise a person's privacy. 

Spam: You may not use Twitter's services for the purpose of spamming anyone. Spam is generally defined on Twitter as bulk or aggressive activity that attempts to manipulate or disrupt Twitter or the experience of users on Twitter to drive traffic or attention to unrelated accounts, products, services, or initiatives.

For those of you who are new to Twitter or to cryptocurrency trading, a word of advice: nobody is giving away money for free. Always check for the verified tickmark and the username before you interact with these accounts as they may be scammers attempting to trick you into parting with your hard earned money! Stay alert.