The scammers targeted accounts belonging to Helen Bevan, the chief transformation officer for NHS Horizons. By changing Bevan’s account details, the group was able to hijack two of the officer’s personal accounts, which have almost 140,000 followers. Once access had been gained, the scammers changed the NHS officer’s Twitter handle to @SupplierPS5 in an attempt to pose as a PS5 stockist.
To make matters worse, the NHS officer was then scammed a second time after being contacted by someone offering to help restore the accounts. Bevan paid the disguised scammer £110 to restore the Twitter accounts before realising she was being conned. During a conversation with the BBC, Bevan described how the scammers used her desperate situation to their advantage:
“I don’t think he did anything, he kept sending me films of computer files whirring, saying this is me doing your work. Then he said he had got it back, but Twitter had changed the verification and he needed an extra $100, then he wanted a service charge… they prey on desperate people.”
Not the only victim
Unfortunately, Bevan wasn’t the only victim of this scam, as the group went on to hustle hopeful gamers using the accounts. The NHS worker explained to the BBC how the hackers used her accounts to lure in those in search of a PS5:
“They were following Walmart, Dixons, PC World, Target. They would wait for them to tweet about PS5s and then reply, saying ‘We’ve got PS5s in stock now, DM [direct message] me.’”
Upon regaining access to her accounts, Bevan reached out to those also scammed by the group. The NHS executive also told the BBC that she hopes her story will serve as a warning to the dangers of online security threats:
“There are things I now know that I wish I’d known – everybody should have two-factor authentication, it’s absolutely critical that you put that on.”
“Also, under no circumstances, even if you’re desperate, do not go to one of these services that claim they’ll get your account back in 30 minutes and stuff – I think they’re likely to be a scammer.”
The ongoing PS5 stock situation is a gold mine for both resellers and scammers alike. Hopefully, we’ll see less PlayStation 5 related fraud as stock levels begin to increase.
Featured image credit: Sony