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Twitter silent as hackers scam users with stolen high-profile verified accounts

  By - Stephen   On 2023-03-18T09:00:24

Looking at Jase Robertson and David Dayen, you wouldn’t think the two of them have much in common. Robertson is known for his time on the A&E reality TV show Duck Dynasty. He currently hosts a show on the conservative digital outlet TheBlaze. David Dayen is a longtime progressive journalist and executive editor for The American Prospect magazine.

However, over the past few weeks, tweets from both Robertson’s and Dayen’s Twitter accounts have been sharing the exact same messaging.

A tweet from Jase Robertson’s hacked Twitter account.
Credit: Mashable Screenshot

“Hello twitter family !” begins the tweets posted to both accounts. “I have 10 MacBooks that I will personally sign myself , that you can purchase for $600 and free Shipping ! First come first serve basis , and all proceeds will be going to charity ! MY DMS ARE OPENED IF INTERESTED”

Included in each account’s tweets is the exact same photo of a MacBook Pro sitting on wood flooring. What’s going on here? Have Dayen and Robertson put their political differences aside and start an Apple reselling business?

No. They’ve been hacked, along with a slew of other legacy verified accounts on the social media platform. And, Twitter has been silent on the matter.

Even though some of these accounts have been hacked for weeks now, Twitter has not suspended the accounts, allowing the hackers to scam users of thousands of dollars, if not more.

David Dayen's hacked Twitter account

A tweet from David Dayen’s hacked Twitter account.
Credit: Mashable Screenshot

Dayen tells Mashable that he was originally hacked last summer after clicking on a malicious link which provided bad actors with access to his account. He says his account was quickly suspended by Twitter then, well before Elon Musk acquired the company. When he regained access about a month later, Dayen quickly activated two-factor authentication on his account. Enacting this security measure should’ve made another hack extremely difficult to carry out.

However, here the @ddayen Twitter account is, just 6 months later, hacked and scamming the platform’s users.

Followers are falling for the scams

Mashable heard from at least one of Dayen’s followers who got scammed after seeing Dayen’s tweets. This person saw a tweet from a user they trusted and, not realizing Dayen was hacked, fell for the scheme in a moment of desperation.

“I fell for it,” the Twitter user told Mashable. “I desperately need a computer.”

David Dayen's hacked account

Another tweet from David Dayen’s hacked Twitter account.
Credit: Mashable Screenshot

This person shared the private DM conversation between themself and the person running the hacked @ddayen account. They also provided screenshots of the $1,500 transaction that they made to the scammer, which included payments from family members who also wanted to purchase a MacBook. The scammer required that they paid via Zelle, Cashapp, or Apple Pay – all peer-to-peer payment services that often don’t provide refunds to users who are scammed.

Dayen tells Mashable that he’s filed two support tickets with Twitter since he was hacked on March 12. He also sent replies to Twitter’s auto-reply asking for more information. In addition, he has tweeted publicly at Twitter’s official support account, @TwitterSupport. His account remains both hacked and active, the scammer’s tweets visible to all of Twitter.

“Amazing that @twittersupport hasn’t at least locked @ddayen after I reported the hack along with dozens of other people,” Dayen tweeted(Opens in a new tab) from his backup account, @david_dayen.

This is not an isolated incident

Duck Dynasty‘s Robertson was hacked even earlier, with the earlier scam tweet visible on his account’s feed appearing on March 2. Robertson announced he was hacked to his followers on a March 5 episode(Opens in a new tab) of his podcast.

Winnie Wong, a former senior political advisor to Bernie Sanders’ 2020 presidential campaign, was also hacked by these scammers. Although, they appear to be trying something different with her account.

Wong tells Mashable that when she was first hacked and booted from her @WaywardWinifred account on March 13, the scammers originally started to post about the same MacBook scam. But then, after she started(Opens in a new tab) tweeting(Opens in a new tab) about her and Dayen being hacked from her other high-profile Twitter account, @People4Bernie, the scammers blocked her account from viewing tweets from the hacked accounts. Then, the scammers changed her Twitter profile and header in order to make the account look like an official Twitter profile.

The hacked @WaywardWinifred account then began(Opens in a new tab) to privately DM Wong’s contacts – including politicians and other influential users – pretending to be a member of Twitter’s support. The DMs informed the user that they broke Twitter’s policies and needed to fill out a form at a website “,” a phishing website setup by the scammer to look like a Twitter page in order to trick the user into sharing their password so they can take over the account.

The phishing website currently forwards to an Instagram account @morcegoen(Opens in a new tab), which appears to be connected to the scammer. A single photo(Opens in a new tab) on @morcegoen’s page has comments from verified Instagram users like actor John Cusack. Cusack himself had his Instagram account hacked at the time this account was made. Cusack’s Instagram account posted photos of MacBooks while it was hacked, along with the same “10 MacBooks” for sale text.

The same scammer hit other high-profile Twitter accounts earlier this year too. Actress Anya Taylor Joy(Opens in a new tab)‘s Twitter account was hacked and started tweeting out the MacBook scam in January. Actor Jonathan Frakes(Opens in a new tab)‘ account started doing the same in late December of last year too. However, both Joy’s and Frakes’ account has been restored to its rightful owner since then.

Anya Taylor Joy's hacked Twitter account

A January tweet from Anya Taylor Joy’s hacked Twitter account.
Credit: Mashable Screenshot

So far, all high-profile accounts that have been hacked are legacy verified accounts, meaning they were verified before Musk took over the platform and allowed users to purchase a Twitter Blue verified checkmark for $8 per month.

Twitter’s inaction on the matter is a problem. As Wong tells me, her concern isn’t so much that she can’t access her account, it’s that the accounts have not yet been suspended. This makes it possible for the hacker to continue to scam her followers as well as other Twitter users. She points out that the issue with the accounts that were stolen earlier this year, such as Anya Taylor Joy’s, were resolved at a time when Twitter had a larger workforce. Since those hacks earlier this year, Twitter has gone under additional rounds of layoffs.

Twitter could not be reached for comment by Mashable as the company no longer has a communications department under Musk.

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Author: Stephen

Stephen is an internationally acclaimed business news journalist with 20 years of experience in the industry. Having worked for some of the most prestigious newspapers, magazines and news organizations, Stephen has become a respected leader in international business news. His writing has been featured in publications such as The Wall Street Journal, The Financial Times, The New York Times, and Bloomberg. Stephen has also appeared as a commentator on several radio and television programs, including CNN, CNBC, and Bloomberg TV. He is a sought after public speaker, appearing regularly at conferences and industry events to discuss the latest business news. With his wealth of experience, Stephen is an invaluable resource for anyone looking to stay up to date on the latest international business news.

Top Liked Comments:

Sharie Fleishman

2022-12-10 00:18

This was a great read, thanks!

Joan Howe

2022-09-05 12:18

Thanks for sharing your knowledge!

Georgianna Kucera

2022-01-06 23:30

Thanks for the valuable advice!

Becki Schroeder

2022-11-01 00:46

Thanks for the interesting read!

Rebecka Mischke

2022-01-30 02:34

Thanks for such a great article!

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