Fake tech-support scams on Twitter could cost you, study warns

Double-check for the blue check before you trust that tech.

Rae Hodge
Rae Hodge Former senior editor
Rae Hodge was a senior editor at CNET. She led CNET's coverage of privacy and cybersecurity tools from July 2019 to January 2023. As a data-driven investigative journalist on the software and services team, she reviewed VPNs, password managers, antivirus software, anti-surveillance methods and ethics in tech. Prior to joining CNET in 2019, Rae spent nearly a decade covering politics and protests for the AP, NPR, the BBC and other local and international outlets.

Tech-support scams have a common attack plan. 


Researchers are warning Twitter users to double-check tech-support accounts before handing over their credit card numbers. A report from cybersecurity firm Trend Micro, published Tuesday, detailed some of the latest ways cybercriminals are using the social media platform to defraud users of their cash

Trend Micro analyzed Twitter data over a three-day period in February and found criminals are gaming search engine results to lure more victims. This includes repetitively posting fake phone numbers while posing as official technical-support agents over the phone and convincing victims to hand over credit card information. Cybercriminals are also using fake tech-support Twitter accounts to distribute data-stealing malware targeting bank accounts. 

The Twitter scams are part of a multiplatform effort by fraudsters across Facebook, YouTube, Pinterest and Telegram, according to Trend Micro. 

"Directly thwarting tech-support scams is tricky, as they don't rely on malicious executables or hacking tools," the study said. "They instead prey on unsuspecting victims through social engineering." 

Twitter has policies against scams and abuse. Trend Micro said it found these rules are actively enforced and that many of the scammer accounts it found were quickly taken down.

Readers can access the full report on Trend Micro's site. Twitter didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

Watch this: How to avoid tech support scams