Every now and then I come across a Twitter user who puts a ✔ after their user name or uses the words Verified Account in their profile. They do this to add an air of legitimacy to the account, to make them more plausible. I have seen an increase in and reported spammers over the last week who are using these ‘tricks’ to make them appear to be legitimate accounts.
The spam users have been trying various phishing tricks to get people to part with various bits of information, usually with a link to a legitimate looking webpage for a bank or courier firm. Pretty much what you see in the phishing e-mails, I guess you can say it is evolution.
Twitter verifies very few accounts in the great scheme of things, they did at one point have a public verification system in Beta test but this has now been closed and now they only verify things like, brands, partners, major celebrities, bands, politicians, law enforcement & government departments.
If you are using twitter.com when you look at a legitimate verified account from Twitter it will have this icon
after the user name like this
it won’t be in the profile, it won’t be after the @staffspolice user name, it will be clearly shown at the end of the bold user title at the top.
If you are using one of the desk top Twitter clients the verified logo may look like the one above or it may be more subtle like this.
in the iPhone app the same account looks like this
with a tick in a blue cut away corner denoting that the account is verified by Twitter.
If the Twitter account doesn’t have this icon next to the user name then it isn’t verified by Twitter, which means that they have not had to provide whatever proof Twitter require to prove legitimacy. This doesn’t mean that it isn’t necessarily an ‘official’ account, just that Twitter haven’t given it their stamp of approval.
Thanks to the work done by @nickkeane all the main accounts for UK Police forces are verified with Twitter, most of the ‘sub’ accounts for specialist units like Dog Units, Air Support Units & Neighbourhood Policing Teams aren’t, but you could check the validity of these by looking for a page like this from Staffordshire Police that lists all their official social media channels on your local force website.
If you want to check any twitter account yourself, you can do this by going to https://twitter.com/ to get to the Twitter home page (make sure you use https and not just http) then in the address bar enter the user name, without the @ after the / and press return.
this will return the user home page for that account and you will be able to see clearly on there if the account is verified or not. As I said earlier if the account isn’t verified, it doesn’t mean that it isn’t an official account, just that it isn’t verified by Twitter.
As ever the usual safety rules apply with Twitter, if some person or company contacts you out of the blue asking you to provide them with personal details or sending you links to pages where you have to enter personal details then ignore them.