Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Fake Twitter Account Seeks to Capitalize on Boston Tragedy

Following yesterday’s horrific events, the city of Boston has seen an outpouring of good will from around the country. Reddit users rallied and ordered Bostonians tons of pizza pies. Even in the midst of tragedy, people need to eat, and as the user who organized the pizza donations put it, “Pizza/dinner seems like the best thing we can do right now without interfering with the authorities.” Others offered their frequent flier miles, hotel stays and car rides for those stranded in the chaos.

But as always, there is someone who seeks to take advantage of people’s good intentions in a tragic situation. Immediately after the explosions, a Twitter account called @_BostonMarathon began soliciting retweets, claiming that they would donate $1 for each one. Other similar fake accounts followed suit, but were quickly singled out by savvy tweeters who say through the ploy. Twitter suspended @_BostonMarathon and similar spammers.

The account did not appear to be soliciting donations as much as it was soliciting retweets and followers. There are two reasons someone would do this: just to say that they did, or to later rename the account and sell it, complete with a bunch of followers. Either way, it’s incredibly sleazy.

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