Scammers are leveraging compromised YouTube accounts to promote fake crypto-currency giveaways for Bitcoin, Ethereum, Dogecoin, Cardano, Ripple, Shiba Inu and other crypto currencies
As fake Bitcoin, Ethereum, Dogecoin, Cardano, Ripple and Shiba Inu giveaways proliferate on YouTube Live, Tenable has today warned users to be alert to fake crypto-currency giveaways on social media. Individuals are still being duped, making these scams extremely lucrative as scammers are hijacking legitimate YouTube accounts to promote fake crypto-currency giveaways are not new. Scammers have stolen at least $8.9 million US dollars, Tenable calculates across a subset of YouTube Live scams encountered over the last month alone.
“Scammers are leveraging compromised YouTube accounts to promote fake crypto-currency giveaways for Bitcoin, Ethereum, Dogecoin, Cardano, Ripple, Shiba Inu and other crypto currencies”, said Satnam Narang, Staff Research Engineer at Tenable. “The Bitcoin scams I monitored received $8.2 million in stolen funds, for an average amount of $1.6 million per scam. Ethereum scams received $413k in stolen funds, receiving on average $82,778 per scam. Finally, Shiba Inu scams earned $239k in funds, receiving on average $34,192 per scam”.
Scammers recognise that users place a lot of trust in influential voices so create fake videos featuring the founders and co-founders of crypto currencies as well as notable individuals associated with crypto-currency companies or CEOs of companies who have promoted the use of and/or discussed the purchase of crypto currencies for their company balance sheets. Scammers have developed a formula combined with the plethora of existing interview footage featuring many of these notable figures, which adds legitimacy to their efforts and has continued to work for years. Additionally, as scammers can count on significant interest from audiences looking to watch live stream footage on YouTube, current events featuring high profile individuals offer the perfect fodder for scammers.
Across a number of fake YouTube Live videos Satnam has identified, scammers were using footage of notable figures including:
- Michael Saylor, chairman and CEO of MicroStrategy and a fervent supporter of Bitcoin
- Vitalik Buterin, Ethereum co-founder
- Charles Hoskinson, Cardano founder and Ethereum co-founder
- Brad Garlinghouse, CEO of Ripple Labs
- Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla and SpaceX
The common thread amongst all of these fake YouTube Live streams is that users are directed to external websites that claim to double a users’ crypto-currency, whether it be Bitcoin, Ethereum, Dogecoin, Cardano, Ripple or Shiba Inu. This technique is the gold standard for crypto-currency scams.
To help thwart the efforts of scammers, Satnam offers the following advice, “It’s really important for users to be skeptical of YouTube Live videos promising giveaways from notable figures such as the ones above and new individuals that may emerge in the future. Never send crypto-currency to participate in a giveaway, as it’s unlikely to be genuine, and you won’t be able to recover your digital money once it has been sent. It’s also important for viewers to help play their part and report these YouTube Live videos as there’s a chance it might save someone from falling victim”.
Reporting videos on YouTube can be done by clicking on the flag icon beneath the video and selecting the “spam or misleading” category and selecting “scams or fraud” in the dropdown menu.
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