I need more than 140chars to answer all the Qs I'm getting about the FollowersInNeed charity scam. Here goes:
1) Lots of ppl were asking me to RT a link to @FollowersInNeed who were promising to donate 50p to Children In Need for every follower they got.
2) That seemed a bit dodgy to me. I mean, that's a promise that requires unlimited funds & there was nothing on their page to explain who they were or how their donation was really related to their follower count.
3) I asked them to verify themselves.
4) They didn't. It became pretty clear it was a scam - any legitimate donor would have been leaping at the chance to prove they were legit.
5) They changed the name of the account. First to something about how much they liked Amanda Holden, then to @closingaccount_ and the last time I checked to @LovingTeamSats (they're fans of The Saturdays) A lot of people have asked me what I think they were getting out of the scam or what harm it was doing. I *think* they were probably young girls getting the same thrill kids get when they knock on a door and run away... a simple, "ha ha... look what we did!" I might be wrong. There are other worse interpretations available involving malware or spam etc.
6) It's true that they weren't making money out of it. But charity-fatigue is a well known phenomenon. Nobody can RT every charity request they get. If someone chose to RT that one instead of another, real good cause then they have done some damage.
7)When they changed their name, @JackOfKent cleverly nabbed the old name to ensure that nobody could use @FollowersInNeed for such purposes again. Well done him.
8)I'm told there are other accounts making similar promises. @followmerecord @CINsupport I haven't looked at them and am not suggesting that they are definitely dodgy. Nor do I know if they're legit. I encourage everyone to apply common sense. If they are legit they should have no problem in verifying how they do what they do. Ask yourself who would donate 50p to a charity in return for you following them - especially if they remain anonymous? How would they afford it? etc.
9) In summary: It was a scam. Not one that tried to steal money, just one that wasted people's time and distracted them from other good causes. The account *now* using that name is controlled by someone else and is harmless.
10)You can follow the official Children In Need twitter account at @pudseybear - but of course you following them doesn't raise any money. You can donate at http://www.bbc.co.uk/pudsey