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

Looking at Jase Robertson and David Dayen, you wouldn’t think they had much in common. Robertson is known for his stint on the A&E reality show duck dynasty. He currently hosts a show on conservative digital media TheBlaze. David Dayen is a longtime progressive journalist and editor of The American Prospect magazine.

However, over the past few weeks, tweets from Robertson’s and Dayen’s Twitter accounts shared the exact same message.

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

“Hello twitter family!” begins tweets posted to both accounts. “I have 10 MacBooks that I will sign myself, which you can buy for $600 and free shipping! First come, first served, and all proceeds will go to charity! MY DMS ARE OPEN IF INTERESTED”

Each account’s tweets contain the exact same photo of a MacBook Pro sitting on a wooden floor. What is happening here? Did Dayen and Robertson put their political differences aside and start an Apple reselling business?

No. They were hacked, along with a host of other old verified accounts on the social media platform. And, Twitter remained silent on the issue.

Even though some of these accounts have been hacked for weeks, Twitter has not suspended the accounts, allowing the hackers to scam users out of thousands of dollars or 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 that gave bad actors access to his account. He says his account was quickly suspended by Twitter, long before Elon Musk acquired the company. When he regained access about a month later, Dayen quickly enabled two-factor authentication on his account. Adopting this security measure should have made another hack extremely difficult to pull off.

However, here the Twitter account @ddayen is, barely 6 months later, hacked and scams users of the platform.

Subscribers fall for 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 that Dayen had been hacked, fell for it 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 themselves and the person running the hacked @ddayen account. They also provided screenshots of the $1,500 transaction they made to the scammer, which included payments from family members who also wanted to buy a MacBook. The scammer demanded that he pay via Zelle, Cashapp or Apple Pay – all peer-to-peer payment services that often fail to reimburse scammed users.

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

“Amazing that @twittersupport didn’t at least lock @ddayen after reporting the hack with dozens of others,” Dayen said. tweeted(Opens in a new tab) from his backup account, @david_dayen.

This is not an isolated case

duck dynasty‘s Robertson was hacked even earlier, with the previous scam tweet visible on his account’s feed appearing on March 2. Robertson announced that he was hacked by his followers on March 5. episode(Opens in a new tab) from his podcast.

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

Wong tells Mashable that when she was first hacked and booted from her @WaywardWinifred account on March 13, scammers initially started posting about the same MacBook scam. But then, after she begin(Opens in a new tab) Tweeter(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 seeing tweets from the hacked accounts. Then the crooks changed his Twitter profile and header to make the account look like an official Twitter profile.

@WaywardWinifred account hacked then began(Opens in a new tab) to DM Wong’s private contacts – including politicians and other influential users – claiming to be a Twitter supporter. The DMs informed the user that they had violated Twitter policies and needed to fill out a form on a “” website, a phishing website set up by the scammer to look like to a Twitter page in order to deceive the user. share their password so they can take over the account.

The phishing website is currently forwarding to an Instagram account @morcegoen(Opens in a new tab), which appears to be related to the scammer. Single or Individual photo(Opens in a new tab) on @morcegoen’s page features comments from verified Instagram users like actor John Cusack. Cusack himself had his Instagram account hacked at the time this account was created. Cusack’s Instagram account posted photos of the MacBook being hacked, along with the same text “10 MacBooks” for sale.

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

Anya Taylor Joy's hacked Twitter account

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

So far, all of the high-level 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 Blue Twitter verified check mark for $8 per month.

Twitter’s inaction on the issue is a problem. As Wong tells me, her concern isn’t that she can’t access her account, it’s that the accounts haven’t been suspended yet. This allows the hacker to continue scamming their followers as well as other Twitter users. She points out that the problem of the accounts that were stolen earlier this year, like that of Anya Taylor Joy, was solved at a time when Twitter had a larger workforce. Since those hacks earlier this year, Twitter has fallen under additional rounds of layoffs.

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

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