A team hailing from San Diego State University has unveiled a startling revelation: Nearly a million dollars have been surreptitiously siphoned from unsuspecting victims through Twitter’s Lists feature, now known as X.
These intrepid researchers from California have harnessed the power of artificial intelligence, birthing an ingenious creation aptly named Giveaway ScamHunter. This automated sentinel was meticulously designed to ferret out, trail, and unmask the nefarious schemes that have plagued X (formerly Twitter) – the free cryptocurrency giveaway scams.
In their relentless pursuit of these digital charlatans, Giveaway Scam Hunter embarked on a mission between June 2022 and June 2023, unearthing a staggering 95,111 scam lists. These fraudulent inventories were concocted from 87,617 accounts that had insidiously infiltrated the X social network.Armed with this AI marvel, the researchers embarked on a grand extraction operation, swiftly and autonomously isolating website and wallet addresses intricately linked to these scams. The result? A treasury of 327 scam giveaway internet domains and the revelation of 121 fresh scam-related cryptocurrency wallet addresses.
The journey to confronting this menace began with the identification of a novel avenue for cryptocurrency giveaway scams: Twitter Lists. This feature, owing to its permissionless nature on the social network, presented an alluring and straightforward tool for scammers to exploit.
To decipher which lists harbored these fraudulent machinations, the research team enlisted the aid of a natural language processing tool, finely tuned with data from previously identified giveaway scams. This ingenious approach unveiled nearly 100,000 instances of giveaway scam lists, a trove of previously uncharted scam websites, and concealed cryptocurrency wallets.
From this goldmine of information, the team gleaned precious insights into the modus operandi of these scams, their predatory tactics, and an estimate of the number of victims ensnared during the one-year observation period.
As articulated in their paper:
“By meticulously tracking the transactions coursing through the veins of scam cryptocurrency addresses, this groundbreaking work has unearthed a disconcerting truth – over 365 individuals have fallen prey to these scams, resulting in a staggering financial loss tallying up to $872,000.”
These diligent scientists dutifully shared their findings, along with the associated accounts, domains, and wallet addresses, with both X and the cryptocurrency/blockchain community. However, as of the paper’s August 10th publication, a notable revelation emerged – a substantial 43.9% of the associated accounts remained active. It is worth noting, however, that the majority of these are likely dormant spam accounts, lurking rather than actively engaging in malevolent pursuits.