After an investigation into last month’s leaked data, it has been alleged that a group of hackers laundered almost $10 million in illegally-obtained funds by making a ton of tiny donations to Twitch streamers.
As MEE and Gamegar report, data related to the Turkish market revealed some funny stuff going on, with large donations being made in tiny amounts. Through the platform’s “cheering currency” Bits, the alleged hackers made relatively small donations to small-time streamers.
Twitch transfers one percent of income obtained through Bit to the individual streamers. Some were found to be earning up to $1,800 a day, despite have just 40 to 50 viewers.
Under the scam, hackers firstly allegedly stole or obtained the credit card information of random individuals. They then negotiated deals with Twitch streamers to send them large payments of money through Bit.
The streamers would then refund 80 percent of the money they received to different bank accounts belonging to the hackers, effectively laundering the money.
$9.8m was laundered through 2,400 Turkish streamers over the past two years.
This had been suspected privately for a few weeks after irregularities in streamer’s incomes were noticed. However, the effort came to public prominence when Turkish streamer Grimnax shared some Discord screenshots, reportedly showing the hackers reaching out to him and asking if he’d like to take part in their scam:
High-profile Turkish streamer Jahrein, who has 1.7 million Twitch subscribers, is another person trying to raise awareness. He has recently met with politicians, who are now calling on Turkey’s parliament for “the Financial Crimes Investigation Board (Masak) and other relevant Turkish state institutions to scrutinise the scandal.”
While the police in Turkey have been slow to act—Jahrein has only spoken with cybercrime officers this week—the matter has also been reported to Twitch. They say that they have taken action “against more than 150 partners in Turkey for abuse of our monetisation tools,” and have “also worked with those affected who have reached out to us.”
All money laundering is lossy, but 80% of 1%? What a waste of time for everyone involved except amazon.