The website claims to give people verified status on Twitter if they only submit personal data.
Twitter has always had problems with policing and regulation on the app, and it seems the problems can’t stop. Online trolls, neo-Nazis, illegal activities and porn have all been found on the social media platform. It has been discovered that the platform has also now allowed a fake website to purchase the promoted tweets option. The tweet in question showed up on multiple users feeds, after being promoted by the fake website. The tweet claimed that it could offer the verified status on Twitter to users on the platform. The verified blue tick is highly coveted on the app as it gives importance to people and their tweets. It is seen as a status symbol.
The tweet was promoted by @BusinessTweet30 and @UpdatedTweets5. It leads to a phishing website called Verifiedreview.today. The website has been designed to look exactly like the original Twitter website being identical down to the colour, language and font. However, the website is fake and is not in anyway associated with Twitter.
The page on the website says that being verified is more than just a badge. In their attempt to sell the verified status platform, the website adds that the verified status adds status and authenticity to accounts. The website also adds that Twitter has been trying to prevent identity confusion, therefore they are offering the verification form available on the website. The website claims that they were working to deal with identity confusion with people who are involved at regular times.
The website has a form that asks for users Twitter username and password. The form also asks for email addresses, phone numbers and credit card information including the all too sensitive expiry date and the security code. All this for the blue tick on Twitter. If the information is submitted, the fake website can use it to exploit the credit card details, hack into people’s accounts or simply sell the information online.
Thankfully, the website has been taken down and the two accounts which were promoting the tweets have also been removed. However, it is unclear how many people could have been fooled by the scam and handed their details. A Twitter spokesperson approached for comment said that they do not comment on individual accounts because of privacy and security reasons.
Twitter is not a stranger to phishing scams but these case in point shows a flawed ad approval system. This is also not the first time that they have been in hot water because of their advertising policies. Facebook, Google and Twitter are highly claimed to be responsible for the Russian misinformation campaign that happened during the US election in 2016. Russian is believed to have bought thousands of dollars of ads to influence the result of the election. Britain has also been investigating any Russian meddling in their politics and general elections.
As a result of the alleged Russian meddling, Twitter banned some Russian organizations including RT and Sputnik from purchasing ads.
Twitter says that its ad approval policy is automatic based on the account’s historical Twitter use and other factors.