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What the Circle/Poloniex deal has in common with Viagra and Cialis

Internet scammers always find new ways to rip off suckers

blue pill

Hey, look! It’s one of 2,000 ETH they’re giving away! (via Shutterstock)

Lift a rock and you’ll find bugs crawling everywhere. Acquire a cryptocurrency exchange and you’ll find fake Twitter accounts crawling everywhere, too.

When mobile payment company Circle announced its purchase Poloniex on Monday (a story we broke three weeks earlier, as we endlessly like to remind readers), Twitter lit up with very positive comments directed toward the exchange.

There was just one problem: Many of those accounts appeared suspiciously like bots.

As of press time, there were about 820 responses to this Poloniex tweet:

That would seem wonderfully positive for the company. Except our social media editor alerted us that if one were to click on many of the profiles of those replying, they have no followers and their only tweets are in response to this one Poloniex tweet.

“WTF?” she added, via text. She’s a millennial, of course. They consider that perfectly fine for business messaging.

So we had to look into it and, sure enough, she was correct. The Poloniex tweet had a bunch of sketchy accounts chiming in but only because they’re part of a giant scam.

WTF? Indeed!

The top responder was this devious account, which if one wasn’t paying attention, one would miss the extra “o” in the name Poloniex:

Fake Poloniex account (via Twitter)

Whatever scammer came up with that tweet clearly couldn’t afford a proper lowercase “n”.

Oh, and if one is wondering why we’re using a screenshot and not the actual tweet, it’s because we don’t want readers to even accidentally visit the link. No one is really giving away 2,000 ether. Please also tell parents this when they forward emails or tweets or post it on Facebook.

You’ll notice a lot of congratulatory responses to that swindling tweet also suffer from deficient “n” syndrome and some problems with the letters “o” and “u”, too:

Is a full-sized "n" so expensive in Russia?

Is a full-sized “n” so expensive in Russia?

Those are the accounts that have just one tweet.

What’s more, several other tweets followed from more fake accounts with even worse misspellings of Poloniex.

More fake accounts

More fake accounts

It goes on and on from there.

Clearly, many spammers have moved on from fake Viagra and Cialis emails to cryptocurrency “giveaways” where, unlike credit cards, there’s almost no recourse for the victims.

Welcome to our brave new world!

Lawrence Lewitinn, CFA is editor in chief of Modern Consensus. Disclosure: Lewitinn owns no cryptocurrencies in his portfolio.