/ Money, Technology

Scam watch: could you be fooled by a fake Twitter account?


Using Twitter to complain to a company about its service can be a swift and effective way of getting results. But beware if the ‘company’ suddenly private messages you – it may not be the genuine article, as one member discovered…

A member told us how they’d been hoodwinked by a fraudster on Twitter, believing they were communicating with the genuine account holder:

‘I was on Twitter with the genuine Virgin Media account, discussing router issues. I then got a private message on Twitter from what I thought to be Virgin Media. It asked security questions, which I answered. The account was bogus and tricked me into giving away my card details. While I chatted to the fraudsters, my bank called to tell me that a large transaction was declined by its system. I cancelled my card on the spot and complained to Virgin.’

Our say on fake Twitter accounts

Banks and broadband providers are being mimicked on Twitter, but they’re not alone.

In November, a fake Twitter account was brazenly set up in the name of Action Fraud, the UK’s fraud-reporting centre. The spoof Action Fraud Twitter account responded to tweets sent from fraud victims, asking for personal details.

You can see if a Twitter account is legitimate by looking for a small blue tick at the end of its name.

If it does have this, it has been verified as being an authentic account by Twitter.

When you’re using Twitter, never give your personal or banking details away by tweet or direct message.

Also, be wary if you’re suddenly messaged directly while you’re tweeting an authentic account, as our member was.

If in doubt, stop the conversation and contact the organisation in question via a phone number you have verified independently.

If the account isn’t genuine, you should contact Twitter to report an account for impersonation.

If you suspect you’ve been a victim of fraud, call your bank right away, then report the matter to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040.


I did wait a while to see a large number of Twitter users post first but nobody has posted (yet ) so don’t take exception to my post. I don’t use the social media as I know its tracking you , and all info gathered for use by third parties which included governments, as long as people realize that and accept it I am not bothered but when hackers use them constantly to inject malware and scam etc I am not happy on behalf of the British public . Most of the general public don’t know how to protect themselves from exploitation and its constant on those social websites. Its all very well saying Donald, Putin etc post on them but please realize that they are heavily protected by cutting-edge digital electronics of all sorts. I daily get told of the social media exploits they are so many so Which is putting out good advice. It’s so bad in America with people posting pictures of themselves, speaking about themselves intimately that the US security organizations have an easy time finding anybody who has broken the law and store their info on massive computers. The public doesn’t realize how easily by one slip of a word their personal details can be obtained. Once people are on them it’s like a drug and they open up to personal details they wouldn’t dare say in public. Its going to end in tears, I assure you.

These Convos reveal a good deal of personal information about those who contribute. I expect Which? to keep that and our email addresses secure but, judging by the data that social media can disclose to advertisers, this is all a matter of trust. At what point do we become so suspicious of any online forum that we clam up? I’ve nothing to hide so it doesn’t bother me except I would be careful what information I did disclose. Others may be less discreet.

Ian says:
26 March 2018

Which? knows a lot about the users of their site, not least from the random one-question surveys that pop up from time to time asking for an opinion on a diverse range of topics. Over time, that sort of information can build up a substantial profile through the drip-drip-drip collection of innocuous facts.

And the various Which? Campaigns ask voters to divulge their email address for the purpose of being marketed to. At the end of the day, Which? is a publisher with a monthly magazine subscription to flog. Anything else is a sideshow but so obviously done with the aim of increasing those sales.

Ian your point isn’t working , do you think the Regulars here are dewy eyed and naive ? We all know Which collects data , I personally have mentioned it several time —SO WHAT ?? Which website is here to help the British public and it does , unlike Facebook/Twitter /etc who are here to help themselves — to your data and sell it not only to third parties but to Both US/UK governments who collect it . Organisations from all over the world know my data but I dont mind as they are humanitarian action groups as well as official UN bodies .What those “social media ” websites are doing is lying to deceive , making you feel secure to tell all without (you think ) a payback – YOU as Snowden says are the payback . Throwing “rotten tomatoes at Which shows your lack of introspection and judgement in trying to off-set what Facebook etc have done . Not in the same ball park Ian.

Just for you Ian — I have been notified that Facebook has collected -call and SMS logs of Android users for YEARS –names -numbers-call duration AND METADATA for time sent and Recipient of text messages .Thats beside all the other data collection like ALL your photos in US “government services ” computers for future analysis. Its “with your permission ” as nobody seems to have read the small print . Advice from every tech company I know in the USA – FREEZE your account , big names are doing it now.

Ian says:
27 March 2018

… or be wise to that from the very beginning and never sign up.

Hi Ian 🙂 I hope you’ll be happy to know that we do not share any data with third parties and we only use data that our supporters have consented us to use, and for the purpose, they’ve consented to. This allows us to keep our supporters up-to-date on our latest campaigns and products or services (depending what they want to hear about).

I don’t post messages on Twitter and although I do receive some emails from Twitter I would not act on them, any more than I would if I received an ordinary email or a phone call. If I do want to make contact with a company I will make a phone call or send an email, and I have no plans to send a Tweet.

I haven’t been taken in by a fake account, but I have seen them in operation. They usually try to get you to follow a short link. Did you know the @tsecrime (aka The National Trading Standards eCrime Team) have now stopped using short links as they’re a huge boon for scammers.

Ian says:
26 March 2018

“…. and complained to Virgin.”

Eh? What? Why complain to Virgin? They didn’t private message you and they don’t run Twitter.