Scams are everywhere, especially on social media platforms. Bots go around looking for Tweets containing phrases such as “I got locked out of my account” or “My account was suspended”, and claim you should message a ‘hacker’ to get it back. As we will see in this article, all of these hackers are fake, and they will just take your money and run.
If you do have a locked account, do not approach these ‘hackers’, they will ask for money to ‘recover’ your account. In reality, these hackers do not exist, it is a scammer who only wants to take your money.
If you did have one of your accounts locked and a scammer approached you about it, ignore them. The only way to recover your account on any platform is to contact the company you registered the account under. It sucks, but it’s the only way to do it.
In this scam, the scammer will attempt to:
- Have you initiate a conversation
- Ask you what accounts you want ‘recovered’
- Ask for money, then run away with it
This type of scam happens on social media platforms such as Instagram or Twitter. Though companies such as Twitter have anti-bot measures in place, and they work somewhat well from what I have seen.
The scam starts with one of two things. The first is if you post something such as “I got my account suspended” on Twitter, you will get around 5-10 replies instantly from supposed ‘hackers’ or people recommending these fake hackers.
For privacy reasons, I have to remove the names of the bot accounts. While they might have been created for the sole purpose of replying to people’s tweets, they could be hijacked accounts that once belonged to real people. Ironic, isn’t it?
Sometimes people will write things such as “I got my account locked, can you help me?” replying to one of Discord’s tweets. These scammers have bots which will look for replies to this tweet and attempt to attach themselves to the thread.
While these scammers did raise several red flags, I will not be pointing out the mistakes they made for the sake of not making these scams better.
I contacted one of these fake hackers. Note: I am not liable for anything you do. If you are going to do this, do not use your real name. Make sure that any information on the account you use to contact cannot be traced back to you. While it is unlikely that one of these fake hackers will go after you personally, it is safer not to risk it.
The conversation I had with the first scammer on Twitter was long, so I will not be posting the entire conversation.
I will be blurring out details. The username I gave the scammer is fake, but I want to blur it just in case.
Note that any spelling mistakes were intentional on my end. If the image is too small, right click and open in new tab, or just drag the image to the new tab spot.
The scammer starts off asking for my username. In reality, he just sits there for a few minutes pretending to lookup my information.
After two minutes, the scammer got back to me, saying that my account, which does not exist, is recoverable. He then asks if I want to get the account recovered, which I would assume anyone would want, only to reveal that he needs me to pay $60 for “template software” to recover the account.
Of course, there is no such thing as software to recover accounts. In this instance, the scammer attempts to confuse the victim by throwing out words that sound important. Phrases such as “template software” are basically nonsense words.
I wanted to have a little fun, so I asked if $1 was enough, and he settled with $40 instead. Needless to say, I am a master negotiator now.
The conversation goes on for another twenty screenshots worth of pages. He states that I should refer my friends to him for a discount, trying to get even more money out of innocent people through referrals. I think once most people figure out the scam, they will not refer him to their friends.
Reeling in the victim
Of course, no good scam is complete without trying to get money from the victim. This is a lower stakes scam, unlike social security scammers, who try to tack on as many zeroes as they can.
I asked if I could pay with cash, but that was obviously out of the question. He would never do this of course, but I was hopeful. Instead, he suggests that I pay using Bitcoin. I decided to not go for this route, because depending on how he has it setup, there could be no ties to him whatsoever.
I chose to go with a different platform that I could report to the company. While this will not stop the scams, it does slow them down.
He asks if I can go on WhatsApp instead, which probably means that he is afraid his Twitter account will be suspended soon. Moving to a different platform means that even if his Twitter account is suspended, he will be able to continue with the scam.
After realizing that I do not have WhatsApp, he then asks for my phone number, which a scammer could use for many reasons. I wouldn’t put it past these scammers to use any means necessary to get money out of their victims, so I did not provide a phone number. Maybe in the future I will if I get a burner phone.
I asked him to reveal my own phone number. If he was the great hacker he says he is, it would be no problem; however, he said that for technical reasons, he is unable to get my phone number because of software problems. Sound like a fancy way of saying “I’m a fraud”.
He asked me to pay him through a different app, and to put the reason of the transfer as “gift”. This is likely to avoid triggering anti-scam detectors that have been put in place by these apps.
Unfortunately, I forgot to record my messages with the Instagram fake hacker, but it went more or less the same way. From what I can tell, these companies are taking action on these bot accounts, when I checked back this morning, they were suspended.
While scams cannot be stopped, it is important to know about them. Send this article to your family and friends so they know how to avoid scams.
Bookmark our blog, we have more articles exposing scams coming out soon! If you want, you can also join our Discord Server.
If you were contacted by a scammer, or want to report scams for me to investigate, feel free to contact me on the Discord server above, or email me at [email protected]