Twitter Promoted Tweets from a Phishing Site: Here’s How to Protect Yourself
Recently, Twitter came under fire for allowing a Promoted Tweet from a phishing site to make its way onto the platform. The Tweet was designed to look like it came from Twitter, and it linked to a fake verification site that ultimately asked for users’ credit card information.
There are several issues with this scenario: 1) The existence of a phishing site for Twitter account verifications. 2) The approval of a Promoted Tweet that could put users’ financial accounts at risk. 3) The actual promotion of the Tweet before it was removed.
Promoted Tweets are paid advertisements from third party group, not Twitter. With that in mind, Twitter is responsible for approving Tweets that can be promoted. For instance, Twitter prohibits the promotion of adult or sexual products. An ad for an adult content site would be declined before it ever reached the mainstream audience. Why didn’t this phishing Tweet get treated the same way?
What makes this situation even worse is the fact that the phishing site was a copycat of Twitter. The company clearly knows which ads it has put out, so they should have recognized a fake ad they never created. Nevertheless, the Promoted Tweet was allowed to come to surface.
Twitter has since removed the ad, and thankfully, there are no reports of harm from the phishing site. Here are some cautionary steps that will help you not fall victim to a similar scam in the future:
- Do not follow links in Promoted Tweets, Facebook ads, or sponsored Instagram posts. Instead, go to the company’s website directly (or download the app from your app store). Whatever promotion is being pushed on social media will most likely be highlighted on the home page, so you can still follow a link to get a discount.
- If you do click on a link in a promoted post, check the URL for the website that is displayed. Is the link tied to the actual company, or is it a fake name? If the URL is suspicious, don’t proceed any further. Report the ad to the social network for review.
- Be leery of links that request your payment information, especially if there appears to be no reason to pay for the service.
- Trust your gut. If you feel hesitant about clicking on an ad, don’t click on it. Period.