Twitter is a very effective way for people to get a fast response from companies, because brands don’t like having queries and complaints left unanswered in the public domain. Many larger companies have specific customer support accounts to deal with this so they can leave their main accounts for marketing and PR purposes. The problem consumers often face is that email and phone support can be slow and sporadic and they feel they are fobbed off by lazy handlers. Because of this, approaching a brand on Twitter swings the power towards the consumer and instills urgency in the brand’s support team.
Some brands, however, do have efficient support channels in place including live chats and using more formal means of communication works better in some cases. Ultimately, there’s not a one-size-fits-all approach to complaints and support requests and the scale or delicacy of one’s issue may dictate the best route.
Top tips for avoiding scammers on twitter and spotting a fake account
Firstly, never provide any personal information over social media. Genuine support providers will give advice without asking for personal information or they’ll direct you to a certain phone number or email address. They may ask for a basic customer or case number, but nothing that would put you at risk. You must always check that the contact details provided are legitimate – a quick search on Google is usually enough to find out.
Check out the account’s other content and direct tweets and compare this to a genuine support account. Some scammers don’t waste time trying to make their account look completely legitimate, they work on the basis that some people will just go along with the scam without doing any due diligence. Bad spelling and grammar can also be an indicator something’s off.
If in doubt, simply revert to a more trustworthy method of contact and report any suspicious behaviour to the company,
So what about verified accounts?
If you are approached by an account claiming to be affiliated with a brand, search to see if there are other verified accounts for that brand and see which one is legitimate. It has been known for fake accounts to have a blue tick after taking on an old verified Twitter account and changing the username and/or branding, despite Twitter’s efforts to stop this form of hacking. Just because there is a blue tick it does not 100% guarantee it to be genuine. Look for extra characters in their username as a sign it’s a fake.
Twitter attempts to verify all accounts it believes are at risk of imitation and those that will confuse users. The process of getting verified used to be relatively straightforward and any account could submit a verification request, but this feature has been switched off since November 2017. Even so, Twitter is verifying accounts, and scammers would struggle to get verified using a fake support account. Due diligence by consumers as well as brands keeping an eye out for fake accounts should mitigate most of the risk associated with this kind of scam.
The risk mainly occurs when brands set up bad support accounts which could be easily replicated by scammers and it’s not clear to the consumer which one is legitimate.
Both Twitter and brands must work to ensure the right Twitter accounts become verified and brands must fully integrate Twitter into their customer support framework and have processes and procedures in place. Brands must make it clear what information they’re likely to request or not request when dealing with customers on Twitter and signpost their real accounts from their website and other social media.