Crypto scammers are flooding YouTube with old interviews from the likes of Vitalik Buterin and Changpeng Zhao which feature fake ‘giveaways’ that convince viewers to send in crypto and get more back in return. Not only this, the scammers are managing to hijack genuine YouTube accounts to stream from, adding a further layer of legitimacy to the scam.
How the Scam Works
The practice was first noticed in November, but the last six weeks have seen it ramp up significantly, with some videos even staying up following the ‘accidental’ YouTube purge over Christmas. The concept is very simple – scammers get hold of an old interview with a well-known individual in crypto circles, re-post it as a livestream, and promote the fraudulent giveaway in the information section. The scammers believe that the ‘live’ element offers more credibility than just re-posting it as a video, with the live chat and comments sections also spammed with positive responses to the ‘giveaway’.
The secondary part of the scam is the use of legitimate YouTube users’ account, which they achieve by phishing tactics. Victims are coaxed into downloading software that, in the background, captures a screenshot of their computer, system information, all passwords it can find, and establishes a remote connection. After this the hacker simply renames their YouTube account with something along the lines of ‘Binance Giveaway’, hides all their old videos, changes their public profile to include the ‘giveaway’ information, and posts the fake interview.
How to Protect Yourself
The new strategy is a step up from the ubiquitous practice of scammers replying to Twitter comments with the same style of giveaway, which was rife back in the bull run of 2017. In order to protect yourself it’s important to remember that hackers are like vampires – in order to wreak havoc, they first have to be invited in. In order to keep them at bay, treat unsolicited emails or messages with suspicion, and do your due diligence before engaging with anyone who contacts you through YouTube or any other social media site.