How NOT to get Justin Bieber to follow you on Twitter

Justin Bieber, Twitter phenomenonDo you want Justin Bieber to follow you on Twitter?

Well, chances are that you do.. if you’re a 12 year old girl.

And sure enough, with so many adoring young fans of Justin Bieber around the world, there are scammers looking for an opportunity to make a quick buck.

I’ve made a video of a scam that I’ve seen on Twitter today, which targets fans within seconds of them sending messages to Justin Bieber’s Twitter account:

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[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CVbfoCrUmrQ&w=500&h=311&rel=0](Enjoy this video? Check out more on the SophosLabs YouTube channel and subscribe if you like.)

The scam works like this:

* Veronica Spud, a fan of Justin Bieber, writes a message for Justin on Twitter saying that she is his biggest fan and she loves his haircut.

* Edwina, an automated bot account set up by scammers, hunts for users referring to @JustinBieber and posts the potential young victim a message:

Who knew that someone as famous as Justin Bieber could be one of your followers, u know. [LINK]

Who knew that someone as famous as Justin Bieber could be one of your followers, u know

* Veronica, desperate for Justin Bieber to follow her on Twitter, clicks on the link. Excited at the thought of learning the secret of getting the pint-sized popstar to be their new best friend, they think nothing of launching into an IQ test to learn the password that will unlock the secret.

Justin Bieber Twitter scam landing page

* In the blink of an eye, Veronica is entering her mobile phone number and signing up for a premium rate service that will cost her £4.50 a week – in the belief that it will somehow lead to Justin Bieber following her on Twitter.

Are you sure you want to enter your mobile number?

* Edwina, meanwhile, has helped her scammer overlords earn some commission.

This scam is active right now on Twitter. I’ve told Twitter’s security team about it, so hopefully they can shut it down – but it probably won’t be long before a similar scam pops its head up taking advantage of the rich mine of users acting unsafely.

If you see a message or Twitter user that you think is suspicious, remember you can report the user for sending spam.

And if you want to keep up-to-date on the latest threats, including social networking threats, I would love you to follow me on Twitter as @gcluley.


Graham Cluley is an award-winning keynote speaker who has given presentations around the world about cybersecurity, hackers, and online privacy. A veteran of the computer security industry since the early 1990s, he wrote the first ever version of Dr Solomon's Anti-Virus Toolkit for Windows, makes regular media appearances, and is the co-host of the popular "Smashing Security" podcast. Follow him on Twitter, Mastodon, Threads, Bluesky, or drop him an email.

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