Twitter silent as hackers scam users with stolen high-profile verified accounts

Looking at Jase Robertson and David Dayen, you wouldn’t think they have much in common. Robertson is known for his time on the reality TV show A&E Duck dynasty. He currently hosts a show on conservative digital outlet TheBlaze. David Dayen is a longtime progressive journalist and editor-in-chief of The American Prospect magazine.

However, for the past few weeks, tweets from both Robertson’s and Dayen’s Twitter accounts have shared the exact same messages.

A tweet from Jase Robertson’s hacked Twitter account.
Credit: Mashable screenshot

“Hello twitter family!” begins the tweets posted on both accounts. “I have 10 MacBooks that I will personally autograph, which you can buy for $600 and free shipping! First come, first served, and all proceeds go to charity! MY DMS OPEN IF INTERESTED”

Each account’s tweets feature the exact same photo of a MacBook Pro sitting on a wooden floor. What is going on here? Did Dayen and Robertson put aside their political differences and start an Apple resale business?

No. They were hacked, along with a slew of other outdated verified accounts on the social media platform. And Twitter was silent on the matter.

While some of these accounts have been hacked for weeks, Twitter has not suspended the accounts, allowing the hackers to scam users for thousands of dollars, if not more.

David Dayen's hacked Twitter account

A tweet from David Dayen’s hacked Twitter account.
Credit: Mashable screenshot

Dayen tells Mashable that he was originally hacked last summer after clicking a malicious link that gave bad actors access to his account. He says his account was then quickly suspended by Twitter, long before Elon Musk took over the company. When he regained access about a month later, Dayen quickly activated two-factor authentication on his account. Performing this security measure should make another hack extremely difficult to pull off.

However, here is the @ddayen Twitter account, just 6 months later, hacked and scammed the users of the platform.

Followers fall for the scam

Mashable heard of at least one of Dayen’s followers being scammed after seeing Dayen’s tweets. This person saw a tweet from a user they trusted and, not realizing that Dayen had been hacked, fell for the scheme in a moment of desperation.

“I fell for it,” the Twitter user told Mashable. “I urgently need a computer.”

David Dayen's hacked account

Another tweet from David Dayen’s hacked Twitter account.
Credit: Mashable screenshot

This person shared the private DM conversation between themselves and the person who manages the hacked @ddayen account. They also provided screenshots of the $1,500 transaction they made to the scammer, which included payments from family members who also wanted to buy a MacBook. The scammer demanded that they pay via Zelle, Cashapp or Apple Pay – all of which are peer-to-peer payment services that often do not offer refunds to users who have been scammed.

Dayen tells Mashable that he has submitted two support tickets to Twitter since he was hacked on March 12. He also sent replies to Twitter’s automated reply asking for more information. In addition, he has publicly tweeted on Twitter’s official support account, @TwitterSupport. His account remains both hacked and active, with the scammer’s tweets visible to all of Twitter.

“Amazing that @twittersupport didn’t at least lock down @ddayen after I reported the hack along with dozens of other people,” Dayen tweeted(Opens in a new tab) from his backup account, @david_dayen.

This is not an isolated incident

Duck dynastyRobertson’s was even hacked before, with the earlier scam tweet visible on his account’s feed appearing on March 2. Robertson announced that he had been hacked to his followers on March 5 episode(Opens in a new tab) of his podcast.

Winnie Wong, a former senior political adviser to Bernie Sanders’ 2020 presidential campaign, was also hacked by these scammers. Although, they seem to be trying something different with her account.

Wong tells Mashable that when she was first hacked and booted from her @WaywardWinifred account on March 13, the scammers originally started posting about the same MacBook scam. But then, after her started(Opens in a new tab) tweet(Opens in a new tab) about her and Dayen being hacked from her other high-profile Twitter account, @People4Bernie, the scammers blocked her account from viewing tweets from the hacked accounts. Then the scammers changed her Twitter profile and header to make the account look like an official Twitter profile.

The hacked @WaywardWinifred account that is began(Opens in a new tab) private DM Wong’s contacts – including politicians and other influential users – pretending to be members of Twitter’s support. The DMs informed the user that they had violated Twitter policies and had to fill out a form on a website “”, a phishing website set up by the scammer to look like a Twitter page to trick the user into sharing their password so they can take over the account.

The phishing website is currently redirecting to an Instagram account @morcegoen(Opens in a new tab), which appears to be related to the scammer. A photo(Opens in a new tab) @morcegoen’s page features comments from verified Instagram users like actor John Cusack. Cusack himself had his Instagram account hacked at the time this account was created. Cusack’s Instagram account posted photos of MacBooks being hacked along with the same “10 MacBooks for sale” text.

The same scammer also hit other high-profile Twitter accounts earlier this year. Actress Anya Taylor Joy(Opens in a new tab)‘s Twitter account was hacked and began tweeting the MacBook scam in January. Actor Jonathan Franks(Opens in a new tab)account started doing the same thing at the end of December last year. However, both Joy and Frakes’ accounts have since been returned to their rightful owners.

Anya Taylor Joy's hacked Twitter account

A tweet from January from Anya Taylor Joy’s hacked Twitter account.
Credit: Mashable screenshot

So far, all high-profile accounts that have been hacked are legacy verified accounts, meaning they were verified before Musk took over the platform and allowed users to Twitter Blue verified tick for $8 per month.

Twitter’s lack of action in this area is a problem. As Wong tells me, her concern isn’t so much that she can’t access her account, but that the accounts haven’t been suspended yet. This makes it possible for the hacker to keep scamming her followers and other Twitter users. She points out that the problem with accounts stolen earlier this year, such as Anya Taylor Joy’s, was resolved at a time when Twitter had a larger workforce. Since those hacks earlier this year, Twitter has gone under Additionally rounds of dismissed.

Twitter could not be reached for comment by Mashable because the company no longer has a communications department under Musk.

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