RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) – If it seems too good to be true...well you know the rest. Web sites appear to be promising major money for twitter users, but tweeting for cash is the latest in a string of sophisticated pyramid schemes.
With an estimated 10-million members and counting, twitter is among the fastest growing social networks in the world.
"I've been on twitter about a year and what I like is the immediacy of the communication," said twitter user Andrew Zielinski.
Andrew tweets from his the coffee shop he owns and plans to encourage his customers to do the same. But, what if you could turn those tweets into cash? Just jump online and you'll see dozens of web sites promising twitter users quick dough if they just post links on their accounts.
"Does it surprise me that creative illicit minds are trying to find a way to capitalize on such a wonderful technology? No, not at all," Andrew said.
It might not surprise savvy twitter users, but it has fooled some. The Better Business Bureau reports a spike in the number of people victimized by these get rich quick scams.
A popular one right now? One web site is designed to look like a newspaper front page, with the logos of real newspapers and TV networks. The person featured has a rags to riches story...college dropout now making $10,000 a month working from home.
All you have to do is order a twitter cash starter kit for $1.95, but that's how they get your credit card info and then later charge you a monthly fee of $47.
But wait, there's more. By signing up for the program you get to create your own fake newspaper site to recruit others. For each new victim, you get $47 bucks...a pyramid scheme.
"First thing you should ask yourself is how someone could make ten thousand dollars a month from home. Usually, it is impossible. It cannot be done unless it is a scam," said John Hinkle, Internet Fraud Attorney.
A scam that's hard to fight, because these sites that promise fast cash for little work can disappear in just a few days or weeks.
"They hope to get what they can get and suddenly they're off," Hinkle said.
Even though the fine print says "twitter is not associated with this web site" and "some users make little or no money" the seemingly low up front cost still grabs some believers.
So twitter fans beware, or better yet, tweet a warning to your followers. The people who are the most vulnerable to this scheme are people looking for jobs. Click here for the Better Business Bureau's warning about this scam.