Hackers use streaming site Twitch to launder staggering $10 million haul

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Hackers have reportedly used steaming site Twitch to many launder a whopping $10 million (£7.32 million).

The scheme netted hackers in Turkey a huge sum of money, according to several reports.

The scam was exposed last month after a group of anonymous hackers leaked the source code of Twitch – which is owned by Amazon – to expose user payout information.

According to MiddleEastEye, users in Turkey quickly realised something was odd – streamers with little to almost no following were earning thousands of dollars through a platform called Bit, which allows viewers to express their appreciation to the hosts with special paid emojis.

The platform transfers one percent of income obtained through Bit to the individual streamers – some of whom were found to be earning up to £1,500 a day, despite having a tiny amount of viewers – just 40 to 50 in total.

The convoluted scheme involved hackers stealing credit card details of random people, negotiating details with Twitch streams – who would send them large payments via Bit – and then the streamers would refund 80% of the money to a difference account owned by the hackers.

Emre Basaran, of Daily Sabah explained: “You buy 1,000 bits for $10 (£7.32) on Twitch with the stolen credit card, you 'cheer' them all to a streamer and then they pay you back $8 (£5.86).

“That’s guaranteed money for the fraudster and the witting or unwitting Twitch streamer.

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“I make that distinction because apparently, some Twitch streamers are victims themselves too.

“Some Twitch streamers knew that their guaranteed money was coming from stolen credit cards, but others have claimed that they were themselves fooled by the grifters, who reportedly told the streamers the bits were acquired by watching ads on Twitch and that they were looking for a way to convert them to real-world money.”

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News of the scam prompted #dobettertwitch to trend on Twitter, while Turkish Twitch users called for a “clean Twitch” with the hashtag #temizTwitch.

It is thought that around 2,400 Turkish streamers were involved in the scam.

A Twitch spokesperson told Middle East Eye that the company had taken action against 150 streamers in Turkey for abuse of its monetisation tools.

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The spokesperson said: "We want to assure our community that we will not hesitate to take decisive action against accounts engaged in prohibited conduct.

“We take efforts to combat and prevent financial fraud on Twitch on a regular basis, and, in September alone, we took action against more than 150 partners in Turkey for abuse of our monetisation tools.

"We have also worked with those affected who have reached out to us.”

  • Amazon
  • Money
  • Twitch

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