Twitter Spam Accounts
Although I don't really go on Twitter or Facebook too often anymore, I still get the occasional message or friend request/new follower notice. Of course, once I put my Twitter account on the site, I started getting followed by spam accounts.
Years ago, back when AOL was king, the most common spam email went something like this (text source):
REQUEST FOR URGENT BUSINESS RELATIONSHIP
FIRST, I MUST SOLICIT YOUR STRICTEST CONFIDENCE IN THIS TRANSACTION. THIS IS BY VIRTUE OF ITS NATURE AS BEING UTTERLY CONFIDENTIAL AND 'TOP SECRET'. I AM SURE AND HAVE CONFIDENCE OF YOUR ABILITY AND RELIABILITY TO PROSECUTE A TRANSACTION OF THIS GREAT MAGNITUDE INVOLVING A PENDING TRANSACTION REQUIRING MAXIIMUM CONFIDENCE.
WE ARE TOP OFFICIAL OF THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT CONTRACT REVIEW PANEL WHO ARE INTERESTED IN IMPORATION OF GOODS INTO OUR COUNTRY WITH FUNDS WHICH ARE PRESENTLY TRAPPED IN NIGERIA. IN ORDER TO COMMENCE THIS BUSINESS WE SOLICIT YOUR ASSISTANCE TO ENABLE US TRANSFER INTO YOUR ACCOUNT THE SAID TRAPPED FUNDS.
THE SOURCE OF THIS FUND IS AS FOLLOWS; DURING THE LAST MILITARY REGIME HERE IN NIGERIA, THE GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS SET UP COMPANIES AND AWARDED THEMSELVES CONTRACTS WHICH WERE GROSSLY OVER-INVOICED IN VARIOUS MINISTRIES. THE PRESENT CIVILIAN GOVERNMENT SET UP A CONTRACT REVIEW PANEL AND WE HAVE IDENTIFIED A LOT OF INFLATED CONTRACT FUNDS WHICH ARE PRESENTLY FLOATING IN THE CENTRAL BANK OF NIGERIA READY FOR PAYMENT.
HOWEVER, BY VIRTUE OF OUR POSITION AS CIVIL SERVANTS AND MEMBERS OF THIS PANEL, WE CANNOT ACQUIRE THIS MONEY IN OUR NAMES. I HAVE THEREFORE, BEEN DELEGATED AS A MATTER OF TRUST BY MY COLLEAGUES OF THE PANEL TO LOOK FOR AN OVERSEAS PARTNER INTO WHOSE ACCOUNT WE WOULD TRANSFER THE SUM OF US$21,320,000.00(TWENTY ONE MILLION, THREE HUNDRED AND TWENTY THOUSAND U.S DOLLARS). HENCE WE ARE WRITING YOU THIS LETTER. WE HAVE AGREED TO SHARE THE MONEY THUS; 1. 20% FOR THE ACCOUNT OWNER 2. 70% FOR US (THE OFFICIALS) 3. 10% TO BE USED IN SETTLING TAXATION AND ALL LOCAL AND FOREIGN EXPENSES. IT IS FROM THE 70% THAT WE WISH TO COMMENCE THE IMPORTATION BUSINESS.
PLEASE,NOTE THAT THIS TRANSACTION IS 100% SAFE AND WE HOPE TO COMMENCE THE TRANSFER LATEST SEVEN (7) BANKING DAYS FROM THE DATE OF THE RECEIPT OF THE FOLLOWING INFORMATIOM BY TEL/FAX; 234-1-7740449, YOUR COMPANY'S SIGNED, AND STAMPED LETTERHEAD PAPER THE ABOVE INFORMATION WILL ENABLE US WRITE LETTERS OF CLAIM AND JOB DESCRIPTION RESPECTIVELY. THIS WAY WE WILL USE YOUR COMPANY'S NAME TO APPLY FOR PAYMENT AND RE-AWARD THE CONTRACT IN YOUR COMPANY'S NAME.
WE ARE LOOKING FORWARD TO DOING THIS BUSINESS WITH YOU AND SOLICIT YOUR CONFIDENTIALITY IN THIS TRANSATION. PLEASE ACKNOWLEDGE THE RECEIPT OF THIS LETTER USING THE ABOVE TEL/FAX NUMBERS. I WILL SEND YOU DETAILED INFORMATION OF THIS PENDING PROJECT WHEN I HAVE HEARD FROM YOU.
DR CLEMENT OKON
NOTE; PLEASE QUOTE THIS REFERENCE NUMBER (VE/S/09/99) IN ALL YOUR RESPONSES.
This particular scam is still in pop culture. It's even considered a trope on TV Tropes. Back when this started circulating around the Internet, people were more naive to email.
From what I've found, people who use Twitter know what spam is. I was recently followed by "Alonzo Williams." I know people named Alonzo, so I looked at his feed to see if it was a friend.
Who falls for this? Spamming the same blatant ad over and over on Twitter isn't "strategy;" it's stupid.
Also, I didn't expect that avatar. I expected someone who looks more like this:
Notice how "Alonzo Williams" tends to be the name of a black man? There are two girls on the page. The first links to an MTV article called Get The Scoop On RC's Lovebirds, Alonzo And Dominique! The first line reads:
We found out about the inner-crew romance between Rhythm City's Alonzo Williams and Dominique Rosario last week, but the show barely scratched the surface so we dug a little deeper (read: pumped Alonzo for info about his on -- and off-stage -- partner).
The name shows up. Fine. The other girl is... wait...
Really!? What does that link to? Surprisingly, it's not Twitter.
As you can probably tell from the screenshot, I don't have a LinkedIn account. For those who are unfamiliar, having a LinkedIn profile is like having a FaceBook profile for your resume.
Originally, I took the first Twitter screenshot on April 1, 2011. Today is April 29, 2011. Now that I know that "Alonzo" is a marketing, I became curious whether or not the message was changed at all in the last month.
Apparently, she stopped following me because the "Message" button is now gone.
It's currently May 03, 2011, and I was about to finish up this article to post it. @alonzowilliams no longer exists on Twitter, so I'm going to have to end the article here.