Twitter-Jacking: Scammers Hack Celebrity Profiles and use Names to Lure Victims

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Twitter has become a growing phenomenon, a unique social networking site that revolves around one simple question, "What are you doing?"

At the outset most people would respond with a big  "Who really cares?" But as it turns out, just about everyone does, including celebrities, news organizations, government agencies, legislators, businesses both large and small, everyday people AND hackers too.

Daily, millions of people from all over the world head to Twitter to "update" what they're doing with their friends and followers.  An "update" can only contain 140 characters or less -amounting to a couple short sentences.  Similar to a blog, people share news, views, events, products, services, and whatever it is they happen to be doing using few words.  Twitter allows people to find "tweets" about specific topics, people and interests and has turned out to be contagious and seen by many as a valuable networking tool.

Trouble is, once a social networking website becomes hugely popular with the public, it also becomes popular to scammers, spammers and hackers too. They follow us to Twitter and other popular sites hoping to blend in. But in reality, they're only there to find and then exploit any flaws in the system, create mischief, identity theft and/or engage in predatory behavior.  Being savvy to the "twicks" these "twammers" use (sorry, couldn't resist) can go a long way in keeping you and your family's Twitterverse safe and secure.

Scott Taylor, an experienced and popular "tweeter" on Twitter shares his views on a new scam termed "TwitterJacking" when someone hacks and then hijacks a Twitter profile and then pretends to be them. Scammers and Malware writers love to hack and use celebrity names to lure people into their traps.

What is Twitter-Jacking? by: Scott Taylor

This issue has recently gotten quite a bit of attention in the Twitterverse. Here are a couple of steps that I use to kind of ferret out if someone is who they are claiming to be. I can probably best use the example of having my resume re-done.

Let's remember I am gainfully and happily employed but it had literally been 10 years since I had my resume refreshed professionally. What I did was simply put out a tweet asking for people that do resumes. As you can imagine, the choice of who does your resume is almost as important as the resume itself. Within 10 minutes of my tweet, I had 5 people send me messages offering their services.

I checked each persons twitter profile, the link to their website and cross checked that against Any resume writer worth their salt has to have a linked in profile. This immediately removed 2 of the 5. I then checked the sites of the remaining three and promptly called all three of them. I awaited their return calls and upon actually having a conversation with them, I chose the company to complete my resume.

Now, how does this apply to vetting out celebrities? I don't know, but I do know that the Twitterverse is becoming quickly littered with MLM, Affiliate Marketers and other people that just want to sell you something that in general, you do not need.

As in real life, social media is all about getting to know the person. On twitter, you have to do it in 140 characters or less. Much like eating an elephant one bite at a time, this can take some time. My recommendation is to always be cautious and never blindly go into any transaction with someone you just met online. (Translation- CL Killer...scary)

Especially in today's economic environment, your money, your Identity are more important than ever before. Take extreme caution with both.

Scott Taylor

For more tips on social networking safety and ways to keep your kids safe from Identity theft and online predators see earlier blogs;

Social Networking Sites are Fun & Useful...but Dangerous if not Scam Savvy...

Keeping your Kids and their Identity Safe Online

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