Twitter bots are scamming PayPal and Venmo users

Twitter bots are scamming PayPal and Venmo users

By Greg Collier

We didn’t intend to write three stories in a row about payment app scams, yet here we are. Apps like PayPal and Venmo have become so common, it’s almost expected for scammers to try and weasel their way into our electronic wallets. We have documented quite a number of scams that involve not only PayPal and Venmo, but Cash App, Zelle, and other platforms as well. Those scams usually involve some kind of fraudulent transaction, but it seems at least one group of scammers have stepped up their game when it comes to finding new targets.

Scammers have recently set up bots to look for any mention of the names PayPal or Venmo. For example, if someone were to ask another person on Twitter if they had a PayPal, so they could pay them for an item or support a content creator for example, the bot picks up on that mention. What happens next borders on evil genius territory.

The bot will then make an almost duplicate Twitter account of the person being asked if they have PayPal. They’ll block the account they’ve cloned, then respond to the person who asked about their PayPal account with a link that goes to the scammers account. So the person who is supposed to be receiving the money doesn’t even see the fake account responding to the person who asked them about their PayPal account. In a normal Twitter conversation, it would go something like this.

Person 1: Hey, I like your content. Do you have a PayPal?

Impersonated Account: I sure do. (With attached link to scammer’s PayPal)

Meanwhile, Person 2 never sees the impersonated account respond, and loses out on a sale or support.

If you feel the need to discuss someone’s PayPal or Venmo account with them on social media, make sure to do it through private messages and not in a way where everyone can see it. Also, if you’re someone who solicits donations for their work through PayPal, it’s best not to list your PayPal details in your public profile as bots could be targeting you.