The platform announced that it would drop the price of gold checkmarks to $200 monthly, while a cybersecurity firm reported scammers had been taking advantage of the verification.
X (formerly Twitter) scaled back pricing for verified organizations on the social media platform as a report suggested groups had been using ‘gold check’ accounts to push crypto scams.
According to a Jan. 3 report from Rishika Desai of cybersecurity firm CloudSek, threat actors specifically targeted X accounts that signed up for the gold check verification, which organizations could purchase for $1,000 per month starting in March 2023. The cyber threat researcher reported that “malicious campaigns are brooding on a large scale that requires a Twitter Gold account,” targeting X users with job and crypto scams.
“[T]he CloudSek research team identified such accounts on X (formerly Twitter), with a gold tick mark subscribed, posting links to malicious domains,” said Desai. “These domains had […] Different platforms, insisting their followers to join random channels based on crypto.”
X announced on Jan. 2 that it would drop the price of gold checkmarks on the social media platform from $1,000 to $200 monthy for a “basic” plan. Many speculated the price drop may have been an attempt to gain more paid subscribers. According to reports, the platform was valued at roughly $19 billion as of October 2023 — less than half what Elon Musk paid in 2022.
Elon Musk will do anything to make his $40B back in 2024
— Nasiru Abdulrasheed (@neabdulrasheed) January 2, 2024
According to CloudSek, many scammers took over unused or inactive X accounts, converted them to gold accounts, and used the verification system to push crypto scams. In some cases, the bad actors would offer to sell the accounts to others online for up to $2,500.
With the rising adoption of digital assets, high-profile platforms, including X, have been the targets of scammers using various methods to con users out of funds, including crypto. Hackers have previously taken over the accounts of U.S. President Joe Biden, Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin, and many others to push scams involving Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies specifically.