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After scammers duped a friend with a hacked Twitter account and a “deal” on a MacBook, I enlisted the help of a fellow threat researcher to trace the criminals’ offline identities.

EMBARRASSED, ANGRY, VICTIMIZED. That’s just a few of the words my friend uses to describe his recent run-in with a cybercriminal that used a hacked Twitter account to scam people out of hundreds of dollars. Twitter, meanwhile, ignored his pleas for help. That’s when I got involved.

After Tim Utzig lost $1,000 to a fraudster who tricked him using a hacked Twitter account, I asked an expert in social engineering and hunting scammers to help. Ultimately, we tracked down the suspected culprits and identified a network of apparent scammers and money mules expertly swindling people out of their savings. This scamming saga shows how fraudsters use social media, build a network of people to operate different payment accounts, and apply effective techniques to bilk their victims.

It also shows the additional challenges that blind users like Utzig face on the internet and how they are at higher risk of exploitation by indiscriminate online criminals.

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