Misleading Twitter handles displaying paid-for icon being used to carry out phishing attacks

Blue-tick scammers target consumers who complain on X

Misleading Twitter handles displaying paid-for icon being used to carry out phishing attacks

Consumers who complain of poor customer service on X are being targeted by scammers after the social media platform formerly known as Twitter changed its account verification process.

Bank customers and airline passengers are among those at risk of phishing scams when they complain to companies via X. Fraudsters, masquerading as customer service agents, respond under fake X handles and trick victims into disclosing their bank details to get a promised refund.

They typically win the trust of victims by displaying the blue checkmark icon, which until this year denoted accounts that had been officially verified by X.

Changes introduced this year allow the icon to be bought by anyone who pays an £11 monthly fee for the site’s subscription service, renamed this month from Twitter Blue to X Premium. Businesses that pay £950 a month receive a gold tick. X’s terms and conditions do not state whether subscriber accounts are pre-vetted.

Andrew Thomas was contacted by a scam account after posting a complaint to the travel platform Booking.com. “I’d been trying since April to get a refund after our holiday flights were cancelled and finally resorted to X,” he said.

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