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Fake Twitter accounts can be detrimental to companies

The creation of malicious fake Twitter accounts can detrimental to companies – the damage they can do in short order is considerable. Thats why companies need to have a strategy for dealing with fake Twitter accounts in their communication plans and crisis communication plans.

There have been many examples of Twitter accounts being hijacked in protest to a company’s unpopular policy or handling of an event.

  • Oil companies Exxon Mobil and BP have both been victims of Twitter impersonation, and following BP’s handling of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill disaster, the satirical @BPGlobalPR has attracted over 158,000 followers.
  • The backlash against a new Gap new logo was intense. Beyond the thousands of tweets and Facebook status updates deriding its design, people found other creative ways to protest the new logo. A fake Twitter account – @GapLogo – did gather thousands of followers, and Gap logo generators did quickly go viral.

Many businesses have official customer support accounts on Twitter, and banks are no exception to this. Staff members can answer short questions with ease and speed, or offer advice on where to go to learn more if the issue is more complex, with the added benefit of intervening if any Twitter users make their displeasure known about a product or a service.

But recently a fake Twitter account – under the name @TescoCC – was attempting to trick Tesco Bank customers  to pass along their telephone numbers, supposedly to be contacted by a Tesco customer services member. @TescoCC was targeting anyone tweeting about Tesco Bank’s service.


Tesco Bank - Fake Twitter


The official Tesco account, which appears on Twitter as @UKTesco, picked up on the scammers, alerting anyone who tweeted with them about the fake account, which used the Tesco Bank logo and listed a genuine credit card helpline number in an effort to look legitimate.

A Tesco Bank spokesman said:

Following routine monitoring that identified a fake TescoBankCC Twitter feed we took swift action to notify the small number of followers that this is not an official Tesco Bank feed. We advised customers not to share any personal data through this feed and liaised with Twitter to ensure its removal. This feed has now been removed.

Thats why companies need to have a strategy for dealing with fake Twitter accounts.

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Experienced senior executive, both at a strategic and operational level, with strong track record in developing, driving and managing business improvement and development and change management. International experience from management positions in Denmark, Germany and Switzerland View full profile

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