Twitter’s Verified ‘Scam Store’ Accounts Thrive as Humans Flee the Site

Users on the dying social media site are tracking the rise of sketchy dropshipping accounts, which have nearly identical bios and avatars.
Janus Rose
New York, US
A collection of colorful avatar logos created in a similar style
Image via Storescams on Twitter

Twitter’s traffic has been plummeting since the launch of Threads, a copycat social network created by Facebook owner Meta. But one thing that’s increasing on Elon Musk’s dying platform is the number of bizarre spam accounts hawking questionable wares. 

If you’ve been on Twitter lately, you may have seen promoted tweets from online stores advertising “decorative items, household items for everyday household needs.” This exact text appears on hundreds and hundreds of accounts—and they are all run by the same company, which seems to be using Twitter’s pay-to-play verification scheme to boost price-gouged, low-quality products.


The accounts are fairly easy to spot, and have a few things in common. Many of them use the same style of colorful, seemingly mass-produced avatars, and have quirky names like “Zono,” “Bumoo,” and “Vena.” They all link to practically identical online storefronts, which feature the same product descriptions and images found on large ecommerce sites like Alibaba but listed at higher prices. And because Twitter’s algorithm now prioritizes accounts that subscribe to Twitter Blue, many users were seeing the dodgy accounts almost constantly—often as promoted tweets in their feeds or replies.

Screenshot of a tweet from user @Papapishu saying "Hey does anyone know a store where I can find decorative items, household items for daily use?" The tweet shows images of several similar accounts with the same bio text " The store sells decorative items, household items for daily use".

The store bot accounts are easy to spot from their generic logos, and appear frequently as promoted posts and "Who to follow" recommendations.

The products advertised include T-shirts, apparel, and oddly-specific household items, like self-folding umbrellas and an outdoor sprinkler for dogs. A brief search reveals that the items are sourced from other sites, with any watermarks removed or blocked out. For example, these fashionable sneaker-style sandals are taken from a similar wholesale site and sold at a significant markup.

This is the hallmark of “dropshipping,” a widely-hated practice where third-party online stores sell low-quality products they don’t actually stock—typically at much higher prices and often with deceptive descriptions.

A comparison image of two websites selling the same pair of sneaker-style sandals, both claiming markdowns and with one priced at $33.99 and another at $19.54

The Twitter accounts hawk low-quality products that are often sourced from other wholesale sites and sold at inflated prices.

The accounts gained notoriety recently thanks to a Twitter account called “Storescams,” which has been tracking down and following the dropshipping accounts. 


“I started researching them on my main account back in 2019. I realized that all of the original ones boasted flashy, multicolored icons, [and] shared relatively similar descriptions,” Finix Flynx, the Twitter user who runs the Storescams account, told Motherboard. “They kept popping up on my feed, and once there were like 25 of them that I knew, I set up my list, "Algorithmic Dropshipping." 

That list eventually grew to over 1,200 different accounts, which Flyx discovered by analyzing the social graph of known dropshippers and then following them on the Storescams account. As Motherboard was reporting this story, Twitter suspended a large number of the colored-avatar accounts, which Flyx noticed due a significant drop in the number of users his account was following (Motherboard verified that many of the accounts have been suspended). More accounts in Storescams’ list were also suspended Thursday, causing another large drop. But hundreds of the accounts still remain, sporting generic logos and names like “Wozze” and “Miolty.” Another collection of similar accounts, discovered more recently, seem to specifically target Japanese and Korean language audiences.

Twitter could not be reached for comment.

The shop websites advertised by the Twitter accounts are nearly identical. Many of them use the same site template and “About Us” page, with only the shop’s name swapped out in the text description. The company that operates a large number of the sites appears to be Trendytowns Pte Ltd., a Singapore-based ecommerce business which was reportedly one of the top 2 advertisers on Twitter after a mass-exodus of brands that followed Musk’s takeover, according to Reuters. 

A screenshot of a website featuring a blue background and images of various products, with the text "Welcome to Trendy Towns / More surprise are waiting for you"

A screenshot of the Trendytowns website

Several of the storefronts list Trendytowns as the site owner, along with a U.S. address. The address does not correspond to an obvious place of business: According to public listings, it is actually a private home in Arizona that is mysteriously blurred out on Google Street View. Some of the sites also list “home offices” in commercial buildings in London, Denver, and other locations where they don’t seem to actually exist, according to a review of public business records conducted by Motherboard.

Musk infamously promised to eliminate spam accounts and “verify real humans” when he took over the social media site. In reality, the problem got much worse after Musk practically eliminated the company’s moderation staff and started letting anyone buy “verified” check marks that boost visibility via the platform’s algorithm. Many of the store accounts use promoted Tweets to boost content even further, causing the accounts to appear frequently in replies or as ads in the Twitter timeline. 

Two compared screenshots of a section titled "About our online store" that shows the same text except for the name of the site

Dozens of questionable storefronts being promoted on Twitter often have the exact same text on their websites

Like the infamous t-shirt bots that infest Twitter, some users have noted that many of the accounts are hawking products with stolen and uncredited artwork. Others point out that the accounts re-post images with clearly covered-up watermarks, and even copy and paste Amazon reviews of the original artists’ products.


“Reporting them has been kinda hard honestly,” said Flyx. “I’ve never dealt with DMCA claims, but from what I’ve viewed (on sites like YouTube) that are eventually taken down by DMCA, the watermarks (which they cover) are effectively make or break with them.”

Spam and shady content is not a new phenomenon on Twitter, but it has become more prominent in recent months. In June, Twitter’s top content moderation official left the company, following months of layoffs and mass-firings that have wiped out entire teams and all but eliminated the platform’s moderation staff. 

Musk-Twitter’s tendency to amplify transphobia and white supremacist conspiracies have driven many users to new platforms like BlueSky, the decentralized, invite-only project which was originally started by former-CEO Jack Dorsey as a spin-off within Twitter itself. And last week, Meta launched its competing platform Threads, drawing a massive influx of users in its first few days despite being extremely boring and brand-centric.

Nevertheless, some Twitter users have continued researching and reporting the store accounts. But thanks to the platform’s cartoonish mismanagement under Musk, there always seems to be more waiting in the wings.