×

In a scam that might be reminiscent of a modern-day “Paper Moon,” Tatum O’Neal’s verified Twitter account has been hacked by a scammer who shills PlayStation 5 Video Game consoles.

The actor and writer came of age onscreen in movies such as 1974’s con-artist tale “Paper Moon” (in which she co-starred with her father Ryan O’Neal, and became the youngest person ever to win an Oscar), “The Bad News Bears” (1976) and “Little Darlings” (1980). O’Neal has also written two best-selling memoirs — 2004’s “A Paper Life” and 2011’s “Found: A Daughter’s Journey Home” — chronicling her career and her tempestous life with her father and her ex-husband, John McEnroe.

The hacked O’Neal account’s PS5 scam has been happening for awhile, though it’s impossible to say how long, because the hacker (or hackers) actively deletes the tweets daily. O’Neal’s most recent actual tweet appears to be from May 30,  when she tweeted at her daughter, Emily McEnroe. Before that, O’Neal’s timeline was mostly links to her Instagram, where she’s more active, and tweeting news stories.

After this Variety reporter tweeted on Wednesday about the oddity of O’Neal possibly becoming a brand ambassador for PlayStation, and asking every day a variation on, “Just checking who still looking for a #PS5??,” the account immediately blocked this reporter.

Popular on Variety

Afterward, a Twitter user wrote, “I have been scammed by this person! She got $600 from me & blocked me! and the worst part is I dont even get a ps5 after going through all this crap!”

A search on Twitter for “Tatum” and “PS5” revealed a number of people tweeting about the scam, including a few who had been taken in. And at some point on Wednesday, the hacker changed the bio for the 57-year-old O’Neal to read, “PlayStation & Xbox Enthusiast. Verified Salesman.”

A dogged armchair Twitter detective named @heymonster went undercover to engage with the scammer, and exposed his methods in a number of screenshots, revealing a hairy-armed perpetrator.

The scammer asks for his mark’s name, number and home address, followed by payment. He then asks for payment through ApplePay or Cashapp, and asks for $550.

The person says he is verified on Cashapp, and gives his user name., and then asks for a screenshot in order to “create your shipping label within the next 10-30 minutes.”

When @heymonster asked for a picture of O’Neal’s Oscar, the scammer wrote back, “We’re in LA as of now on a business trip I didn’t bring anything with me.”

Lazy loaded image
Tatum O’Neal with her Oscar in 1974 Courtesy of Richard Markell/Everett Collection

The user who told Variety he’d been scammed, who said he’s a “broke student,” had paid the money over Zelle. @heymonster then asked the hacker for his Zelle information, which he provided.

Whether there’s any recourse for those who’ve been scammed is unlikely though.

An attempt to reach O’Neal through her agent and through an email address and phone number listed for her in IMDb Pro went unanswered yesterday. And on Thursday, her agent told Variety that she didn’t “have time for this right now.”

But Variety attempted to reach O’Neal through a possible cellphone number for her, and when the mailbox was full, texted to say her Twitter account had been hacked. The person texted back, “Thank you!” The person did not then respond to a request for an interview.

The @Tatum_ONeal account had been reported to Twitter as hacked many times, but was up and scamming on Thursday into the afternoon. After Variety reached out to Twitter for comment, and to alert them, the account was finally secured.

And yet! The hacker seemed to regain control of the account again on Thursday, leading Twitter to tweet from it, “This Twitter has been recovered by Management and we are doing our best to fix and solve what has already been done.”

On Friday morning, the hacker was once again in control: “IF YOUR still in need of a #PlayStation5 console send me a private message!”

Variety has alerted Twitter to the renewed hacking, and it’s been deleted.

Late Friday afternoon, might we finally have a happy ending?

 

Lazy loaded image
Tatum O’Neal in “The Bad News Bears” Courtesy of Everett Collection

This story has been updated several times.