Crypto & fintech

This article was published on April 19, 2022

Twitter scammers are hijacking verified accounts to tweet fake Moonbirds NFT links

More than 15 verified accounts have been hacked


Twitter scammers are hijacking verified accounts to tweet fake Moonbirds NFT links Image by: Unsplash/Geronimo Giqueaux
Ivan Mehta
Story by

Ivan Mehta

Ivan covers Big Tech, India, policy, AI, security, platforms, and apps for TNW. That's one heck of a mixed bag. He likes to say "Bleh." Ivan covers Big Tech, India, policy, AI, security, platforms, and apps for TNW. That's one heck of a mixed bag. He likes to say "Bleh."

Twitter crypto scammers are now targeting Moonbirds NFTs, a project by entrepreneurs Kevin Rose and Ryan Carson. It’s a collection of 10,000 pixelated owls that have raked millions in sales within days.

Scammers trying to get some money off successful NFT projects is a recurring theme now.

Last month, they were successful in stealing NFTs worth more than $500,000 from Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC) and Mutant Ape Yacht Club (MAYC) owners.

After opening up NFT minting on Saturday, the project has clocked over $290 million in sales across Opensea and Looksrare.

What Moonbirds' digital owls look like.
What Moonbirds’ digital owls look like.

To take advantage of this hype, scammers have started taking over numerous verified accounts on Twitter, and tweeting out malicious links that might lead people to transfer their cryptocurrencies or NFTs in the hopes of scoring a Moonbird.

We have observed at least 10 hacked Twitter accounts across countries ranging from athletes to politicians posting scammy links that lead you to a fake Moonbirds website.

These names include Levi Sanders (son of Senator Bernie Sanders), New Zealand cricketer Martin Guptil, former RuPaul’s Drag Race stars Dahlia Sin, Pangina Heals, and Lady Camden, golfer Sofie Powell, Indian politicians Malti Maheshwari and Bikha Joshi, and former member of the Chamber of Deputies of Argentina, Horacio Pietragalla Corti. The list goes on.

These accounts, with thousands of followers, are tagging hundreds of Twitter users to try and siphon off some money before the handles are returned to the rightful owner.

Moonbirds is gaining tremendous popularity amongst NFT collectors, as it has become the top project for the last 30 days period, according to analytics site Cyrptoslam.

Moonbirds have taken over projects like Azuki, BAYC and MAYC in 30-day sales volume
Moonbirds have taken over projects like Azuki, BAYC and MAYC in 30-day sales volume

Given the high-profile names attached to it, the Moonbirds project might be the target of a lot of scams in the future. As noted by crypto scam watcher account zachxbt, the project was the target of a Sybil attack at launch.

That means one person created a ton of wallets to be on the allowlist that gets to mint NFTs. This person was successful in winning 50 slots, and could end up with thousands of dollars by selling Moonbirds on a secondary market.

Essentially, the project failed to put in enough filters to disallow such bidding.

When it comes to Twitter spam, Moobirds co-founder Justin Mezzell addressed this by saying that the situation is bad, and the company’s trying to do everything to keep it under control.

This issue is not limited to one project. As The Block noted, another popular NFT project called Azuki has also been targeted using the same playbook.

The Azuki NFT project is another target for scammers
The Azuki NFT project is another target for scammers.

We’ve asked Twitter if it’s taking any action against scammers, and we’ll update the story if we hear back.

Earlier this month, Elon Musk, who’s trying to buy the social network, called crypto spam bots the “single most annoying problem” on the platform. Wonder if he has any suggestions to fight this issue.

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