Scam of the day – April 29, 2013 – American Express and Twitter linking – a dangerous idea

We all seem to want instant gratification and anything to make shopping  easier and more convenient is considered attractive to many consumers.  But with many instances of convenient shopping come vulnerabilities to scammers.  American Express has recently partnered with Twitter to enable you to use your Twitter account to buy items using your American Express card by merely tweeting the designated hashtag for a particular product.  Once the tweet has been sent, the Twitter account holder receives an automated response with a confirmation code.  The account holder then has fifteen minutes to tweet the confirmation hashtag back and confirm the purchase.  What could be simpler or more convenient?  It also could not be more simple or convenient for identity thieves and hackers who hack  into your Twitter account to make purchases using your American Express card.  Just last week with the hacking into the Twitter account of the Associated Press, we saw the devastating effects of hacking into a Twitter account.  And how difficult is it to hack into someone’s Twitter account?  Not very.  A five year old child could hack into a Twitter account.  In fact, this past week a five year old child did unwittingly hack into his father’s Twitter account when he was using his father’s smart phone to play Angry Birds and accidentally sent out tweets.

TIPS

This program is an unnecessary convenience that has too many potential problems.  If your Twitter account is hacked into or even if your smart phone is lost or stolen and you have not protected your phone with a proper password, you are in danger of identity theft or being scammed.  Being able to make purchases using your Twitter account does not provide you with any benefits that are not outweighed by the potential problems that can occur.  Remember Murphy’s Law:  what can go wrong, will go wrong.  Stay away from this program.