Many social media frauds related to finance can be summarized under what we consider promote-hit-and-run scams. Examples include rug pull scams also known as exit scams, pump-and-dump schemes or bogus crypto currency trading platforms. For scams of this kind to work they must be publicly advertised as lucrative investment opportunities.
Social media are key in this promotion. Here, fraudsters find platforms to persuade others investing into what later turns out to be a scam. Via social network analysis of Twitter screen names and their first-level contacts, our work investigates rug pulls. It examines social media communication around them with a special focus on the deployment of bots.
Repeatedly bots have been identified in social media campaigns (Orabi et al., 2020). Bot deployment in the context of rug pulls, however, has not been studied yet. Our analysis of social data of 27 rug pulls reveals for the first time massive bot activity coordinated within and between rug pulls mainly targeting established finance news outlets, e.g., Bloomberg, Reuters. Among the conclusions of our work is that bot deployment may prove an early indicator for rug pulls and other promote-hit-and-run scams.
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