Is your follower a spammer…or a hijacked account?

If you think someone’s account has been hijacked, let them know!

Tell them to change their account password and check for bad apps at (You can also just send them this tweet.)

Of course, sometimes, you can’t tell. But you should usually check, because if your account was hijacked, wouldn’t you want someone to help you? Here is the list of messages sent from hijacked accounts:

“Hacked” or Hijacked?

Accounts can be taken over in a variety of ways. For example, you can be taken to a page that makes it seem you are logged out of Twitter, and once you log back in, the bad guys get your password. This fools a lot of people, even smart users when they’re tired.

Some people argue over whether an account should be considered “hacked” or not depending on what happened. For that reason, I often just say “hijacked account” to avoid the debate :) For more info on what can happen, see “How bad Twitter links & apps can trick you.”

Hijacked Twitter accounts are usually used to send spam messages, which encourage users to click links that point to sites that either claim to sell something or try to trick users to enter login credentials or install apps that will take over their accounts to send more spam.

What is spam?

Spam takes a lot of forms, but the kind to watch out for always has a link, and always encourages you to click it, often with dramatic statements such as:

  • “Is this you in this pic/video/blog?”
  • “See who’s visiting your profile/stalking you on Twitter”
  • “This is something you might like to see…”
  • “$3,000 to $8,000 a month working from home”
  • “You have been sent a e-Card”
  • …and many, many others

How can you tell when someone had their Twitter account hijacked?

  1. Someone you are already familiar with on Twitter begins sending uncharacteristically spammy messages.
  2. Someone is sending a phrase that Twitter (@Safety @Spam @Delbius) or @TweetSmarter has warned is a being sent from hacked accounts. @TweetSmarter will always add the hashtag #Alert or #Warning to such tweets. Warnings from Twitter can take a variety of forms.
To see the latest warnings, visit

What should you do?

Tell anyone you think that has been hacked to and read Send them a DM, or tweet if they don’t follow you.

Why doesn’t Twitter do even more to protect us?

Twitter suspends bad apps, and blocks suspicious links. But spammers, as soon as they determine a link or site has been blocked, keep tweeting similar/same things with new links to new websites or apps that do the same bad things. And until Twitter catches it again, more people are spammed or infected with malware.


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