Here’s how Twitter verification is helping crooks make millions.

The monetization of verification, the biggest change to Twitter since Elon Musk took control, appears to have been highly expensive for many crypto enthusiasts and NFT collectors and a boon for phishing criminals.
These con artists seem to be concentrating much of their activities on those who are very young or very old, have reading difficulties, or have other learning issues, according to a Twitter thread from @g13m.

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The scam works like this: A criminal, in this case a YouTuber and internet troll going by the names BlueXBT and JB’s Adventures, pays a small sum of money to purchase verification (blue or gold; it’s generally accepted that a blue checkmark costs $8 per month and a gold check is $1,000 per month), and they set their name to be nearly identical to a well-known brand or person.

After completing this, they increase their follower count by utilizing spam and bots, set their avatar and bio to be the same, and block the account they are impersonating in order to avoid immediately catching them out.

The scam may now be carried out with little more than an automated bot that responds to popular accounts that frequently tweet and occasionally checks direct messages for marks. You’ll see that major brand accounts make an effort to combat this by tweeting at the end of a thread to say that any tweets that follow it are not from their account and are therefore unavoidably spam and scams. However, doing this on its own is insufficient to solve the issue.

When validation means Jack

Although the previous verification system had apparent flaws, including a lack of openness around who was confirmed and why, the monetization of verification has entirely changed what a checkmark means. Scammers have prospered as a result of this.

Musk believed that placing a firewall between fraudsters and verification would thwart their efforts, but it has only raised the cost of doing business. Scammers are more than happy to pay this fee.

In fact, in this most recent fraud, BlueXBT was able to double the victim’s initial investment in a single Twitter Gold verified account by stealing over $200,000 in cryptocurrencies and NFTs from only one person.

It’s unclear how Musk intends to address this problem because increasing fees will make verification too expensive for many people, and doing nothing will allow criminals to continue regularly phishing for money.