Web

The old “Nigerian prince” scam is back on Twitter — with a Bitcoin twist

bitcoin in hand
NurPhoto/Getty Images
It’s been years since those “Nigerian Prince” scams were popular, as email users grew savvy to the practice of requesting a few hundred dollars in return for a multi-million dollar fortune. But the scam has seen a resurgence on Twitter: Today’s savvy cybercrooks are creating fake celebrity accounts that ask for small cryptocurrency donations in return for the chance to be sent thousands of dollars worth of Bitcoins in return.

This new trend started gaining traction on February 1 and exploits the growing number of new cryptocurrency owners who jumped on the trend of growing investment in Bitcoin and other altcoins based on blockchain technology at the tail-end of 2017. In this scam, fake accounts pretending to be technology luminaries like Elon Musk or John McAfee promise to send followers as much 20 bitcoins, if only they send them 0.02 bitcoin in return. You can’t go wrong, right?

In one example cited by Wired, a scammer was able to trick Twitter users out of 0.184 bitcoins in just a few hours. Considering the investment was only time in creating the account and commenting on a few popular Tweets, that’s quite a quick way to earn around $1,500.

bitcoin scammer twitter twitterscam01

According to one researcher from the Dallas Hackers Association, much of this is about targeting those who were burned in the recent downfall of Bitcoin’s value. They bought high and are now stuck with an investment that hasn’t paid off anywhere near as quickly as they expected. That’s leading to knee-jerk reactions — and scammers are reaping the profits.

It’s not just Bitcoin that bad guys are looking to hoover up from opportunistic owners, however. A number of alternative cryptocurrencies were picked up as their value spiked in late 2017 too, so some scammers are instead going after altcoin investors with wallets full of Litecoin and Ethereum. But regardless of which cryptocurrency the scammers ask for, the methods are the same.

Sure, fake celebrity accounts are nothing new on Twitter, but the use of them to scam users may draw the attention of Twitter faster than most. The question is whether the potentially impending crackdown will be effective; as with the Nigerian Prince scam, this one is profitable and quick to set up. It could take a concerted effort to stop them. Will Twitter help us out?

Business

Apple loses battle to use Intel modems in Germany in latest clash with Qualcomm

Apple is following the Federal Trade Commission's lead and has sued Qualcomm for a massive $1 billion in the U.S., $145 million in China, and also in the U.K., claiming the company charged onerous royalties for its patented tech.
Computing

Think crypto’s dead? JPMorgan to offer first cryptocurrency backed by a U.S. bank

J.P. Morgan Chase is making history by rolling out a trial, over the next few months, of the first cryptocurrency, dubbed JPM Coin, which is backed by a large United States bank.
Mobile

It hasn't even been announced yet, but you can already reserve the Galaxy S10

It won't be long now. With 2019 underway, the Samsung Galaxy S10 is almost here. Before it arrives, here's absolutely everything you need to know about all three of Samsung's next flagships.
Computing

Blockchain does way more than power Bitcoin. Here's how it works

What is a blockchain? It was once merely an academic idea and today it's the backbone of the cryptographic industry, helping to send billions of dollars worth of digital assets all over the world.
Web

Switch up your Reddit routine with these interesting, inspiring, and zany subs

So you've just joined the wonderful world of Reddit and want to explore it. With so many subreddits, however, navigating the "front page of the internet" can be daunting. Here are some of the best subreddits to get you started.
Computing

Use one of these password managers to help protect yourself online

The internet can be a scary place, especially if you don't have a proper password manager. This guide will show you the best password managers you can get right now, including both premium and free options.
Mobile

Is the 5G spectrum harmful to our health? Experts say, 'Don't freak out'

There's plenty of consumer anxiety about radiofrequency (RF) radiation, specifically around millimeter waves (mmWave) used on 5G networks, but is it based in reality? We asked the FDA to give us its official view on the subject.
Computing

YouTube beats Apple, Netflix as the most trusted brand by millennials

The popular video sharing website YouTube climbed up in an annual Mblm study, moving up from third place in 2018 and coming ahead of both Apple and Netflix in final 2019 rankings. 
Computing

Russia will ‘unplug’ from the internet as part of a cyber-defense test

Authorities across Russia are planning on unplugging the country from the global internet as part of a test of its cyber defenses. The disconnection will briefly keep all internet traffic inside the country.
Gaming

These are the coolest games you can play on your Google Chrome browser right now

Not only is Google Chrome a fantastic web browser, it's also a versatile gaming platform that you can access from just about anywhere. Here are a few of our favorite titles for the platform.
Web

Gmail adds lots of new functionality to its right-click menu

Right-click on an email in Gmail and the list of actions is pretty limited. That's about to change, though, as Google has just announced it's expanding the list of options to make its email client that little bit more useful.
Computing

Tired of paying a monthly fee for Word? The best Microsoft Office alternatives

Looking for a competent word processor that isn't Microsoft Word? Thankfully, the best alternatives to Microsoft Office offer robust features, expansive compatibility, and an all-too-familiar aesthetic. Here are our favorites.
Computing

File Transfer Protocol explained: What FTP is and what it does

FTP stands for "File Transfer Protocol," and it's used to transfer files online. Most internet users don't need it, but web developers use it constantly. Here's what FTP is, how it works, and how you can get started using it.
Computing

Make a GIF of your favorite YouTube video with these great tools

Making a GIF from a YouTube video is easier today than ever, but choosing the right tool for the job isn't always so simple. In this guide, we'll teach you how to make a GIF from a YouTube video with our two favorite online tools.