Fake Pope Francis Twitter Account Promotes Bitcoin Giveaway, One More to List of Scams
The next face of crypto scam on a social media platform is that of Pope Francis. As per CCN’s report, Duo Security’s researchers saw a growing number in fake accounts, which promoted a supposed giveaway of cryptocurrencies – whether it Bitcoin [BTC], Ethereum [ETH] or others.
Such accounts are also referred to as “botnet”, which normally mimics profiles of experts within the field by creating fake interest from users through likes and retweets. An example of the fake Pope Francis account has been revealed and it belongs to @_Poontifex.
A tweet was also made from the fake account dated, Tuesday, August 28, which said,
“I have prepared something for you all to cheer you up a bit.” A BlogSpot link was also shared in what appears to be a photo of the Pope with the caption, “Pope Francis Official BTC-Giveaway”.
To fool investors and followers, other dummy accounts are then established to confirm the receival of said giveaway. As it gets more likes and retweets, it makes it one of the top comments of the Pope giveaway, which is then exposed to those who are eager to see whether it is factual or not. An example of this was also given, where a fake account named Ricardo Stark replied,
Sօ соօl! Jսѕt seոt anԁ іmmеԁiatеly got bасk! You'rе ѕupеr faѕt.
— Ricardo Stark (@RicardoStark7) August 30, 2018
Dummy crypto promoting accounts isn’t a first on Twitter, as investor and engineer, Elon Musk and Founder of Ethereum, Vitalik Buterin were the images of previous fake accounts. While some might easily see the lack of legitimacy in such accounts, others, would have immediately reacted, especially in the case of Buterin, as he is directly linked to Ethereum [ETH].
Cointelegraph went deep into how botnets work, and it turns out that each botnet houses 15,000 “dummy accounts”, as per Duo Security’s Security Engineer, Jordan Wright. Those 15,000 accounts are then used to announce and spread the existence of said giveaways, which is then accepted by Twitter as being quality content.
Eventually, those who see a “giveaway” post will search the comments for some validation, and the first couple of comments would typically come from the botnet.
While one might assume that this is too obvious of a scam, especially that involving “Pope Francis”, however, the scammer was smart, as they could have tried to pull religious individuals into the scam to wipe them clean.