Twitter Crypto Scammers Spoof Bloomberg Reporters’ Accounts to Get Ethereum

Jordana Sacks
  • Bloomberg journalists Olga Kharif and Lily Katz state: “We’re not running any crypto scams, regardless of what Twitter says.”
  • Fraudsters spoofed both of the writers’ accounts in a bid to scam their followers.

Twitter has been embroiled in a number of cryptocurrency scams in recent months, with the latest involving Bloomberg journalists Lily Katz and Olga Kharif.

The two report that in the first three weeks of May this year, fraudsters copied a large amount of information from their pages, along with their profile photos, and used this to promote ether scams to their 17,000 followers.

As if this wasn’t not bad enough, Ms Katz and Ms Kharif have stated that despite multiple requests to Twitter to have their doppelgangers removed, at least one remains, still pushing their fraudulent deals to the platform’s users.

These bot-driven fakes typically work by targeting individuals and companies, as in the case of the two Bloomberg employees. Roger Kay, president of Endpoint Technologies Associates, explains:

“Setting up a bot is easy-peasy. The sign up probably takes longer than the programming.”

Roger Kay, president of Endpoint Technologies Associates

Ms Katz was targeted first, with her imposter, @LilyKatz5, tweeting to her followers with the promise of up to 100 ether for anyone who transferred even a small amount of cryptocurrency to them.

Although Twitter did shut down the account once Ms Katz had uploaded a photo of her passport as proof of her legitimacy, another fraudster impersonated her just two weeks later, using the journalist’s name and photo to spam her followers with more false pledges of ether.

This resulted in 10 separate transactions of the cryptocurrency to an account linked to Twitter handle @subidetu4629 over the space of a fortnight.

Ms Kharif discovered that she was also being impersonated on the 10th May. Despite twice notifying Twitter of the issue, no action was taken as the journalist refused to share her personal documents online due to privacy concerns. The website took this inability to prove her identity as an excuse not to take action, allowing the fraudster to remain active.

The Bloomberg journalists are not the first to have been targeted by these fraudulent bots, with both Elon Musk and Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin already having fallen victim. As Luke McNamara, a principal analyst at FireEye Inc. explains:

“This is a space where individuals are responsible for their own security. That’s why we’ve seen so many bad actors gravitating into [it].”

Luke McNamara, principal analyst at FireEye Inc.

Twitter maintains that it’s aware of the problem and is doing its best to fix it, with its chief executive officer Jack Dorsey promising that the company is “trying to fight scams”. The social media platform has notably banned cryptocurrency-related ads earlier this year, although Dorsey himself believs bitcoin will be the world's "single currency" by 2028.

Featured image credit: Max Pixel

Irish Drug Dealer Forced to Surrender €52 Million in Bitcoin to Authorities

Michael LaVere
  • An Irish drug dealer was forced to surrender €52 million in crypto to the Criminal Assets Bureau.
  • High Court determined the proceeds to be the result of a crime. 

A drug dealer was forced to surrender €52 million (around $56 million) in cryptocurrency to Ireland's Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB) after the country's High Court determined it to be proceeds from a crime. 

According to the report by Irish news outlet Independent, Dubliner Clifton Collins accumulated more than €52 million in the illegal sale and supply of drugs. Justice Alex Owens ruled that the bitcoin should be forfeited under the Proceeds of Crime legislation, a decision that went uncontested by Collins. 

The report claims authorities discovered a quantity of cannabis in Collins possession after a vehicle stoppage which took place in February 2017. Authorities went on to find a large number of suspected cannabis plants at an address at Farnaught, Corr na Móna. A subsequent investigation by the CAB led the bureau to uncover Collins's extensive holding of crypto assets, which amounted to €52 million. 

The report claims that Collins was an early investor in bitcoin and crypto-assets, which appreciated exponentially over the years. The CAB was able to secure a freezing order on the bitcoin to ensure that it could not be moved from the wallet prior to a court ruling. 

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