Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Million Dollar Twitter Accounts Contest Hijacked by Scammers

According to Symantec, the Super Bowl ended, received more than 2.1 million tweets using its hashtag #EsuranceSave30, and 200,000 of those tweets came in the first minute.


Symantec Security Response has observed a number of fake Esurance Twitter accounts being created to leverage the attention generated by this contest.

Many of the Twitter accounts used variations of Esurance’s brand name and logo to convince users they are affiliated with the company. These accounts include the following Twitter handles:

  • EsuranceWinBig
  • EsuranceGW
  • Essurance
  • Esurrance
  • Esurnace
  • Esuranc

There are also other accounts that use logos and imagery making them look like they belong to Esurance, but their names have nothing to do with the brand.

 


The campaign has received 1 billion impressions, according to Esurance's ad agency Leo Burnett. A fake account has accumulated 215,000 followers in the past 10 hours.

The account, created in December 2012, has racked up thousands of followers but performed an “account pivot” during the contest--it changed its avatar, bio and header image, and claimed to be part of the Esurance giveaway. 

The account added thousands of Twitter followers and received more than 40,000 retweets for a tweet related to the contest overnight, it performed yet another account pivot--after gaining enough followers from the Esurance tweets, it reverted back to a LifeHacks account.

The popularity of the contest and the hashtag, some of these accounts have gained anywhere between 1,000 to 100,000 followers. After that, the owners of these accounts are able to sell these fake accounts to individuals who are looking for accounts with real Twitter followers instead of fake ones. This can then be used for affiliate spam.

As more brands use Twitter for marketing purposes, Symantec advises users to look for and follow updates and contest rules from Twitter accounts that are “verified” and/or officially associated with the brand.



Author Venkatesh Yalagandula Follow us Google + and Facebook and Twitter

 
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