- Yet another wave of Bitcoin scams is rising on YouTube, and the platform has the same toneless response.
- Scammers have hacked popular channels counting tens of thousands of users, and promote the usual “Space X” giveaways.
- It takes YouTube entire weeks before they step in to stop this and give back the channels to their owners.
Last time we reported on a surge of Bitcoin scams on YouTube was in June, and the one before that was a few months back. If we go a bit further back, we saw the same thing happening last summer, and the story goes on.
With the video platform essentially doing almost nothing to stop the scammers, these fake Bitcoin giveaway campaigns that are reaching out to a large audience by hacking legitimate channels continue to occur, and they have grown into a persistent problem. It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to even characterize their presence on YouTube as permanent right now.
According to multiple reports from prominent YouTube channel owners, there’s a spike of the problem again, and scammers are using the exact same themes. That would include Elon Musk, Space X, and NASA. In many cases, the actors hack popular accounts like the one of tech leaker Jon Prosser, and then rename the channel to make it look like it’s something official from Space X.
Somehow, the hackers bypass 2FA, takeover the channel, and start live-streaming the fake giveaways. The hackers enjoy all the time in the world before YouTube actually steps in.
happening again right now: many more large verified YouTube accounts have been hacked including @jon_prosser bypassing 2FA, have had their names changed to Elon Musk NASA, and are live streaming Bitcoin scams with over 100,000 fake viewers through botting https://t.co/eYZ90wNuce pic.twitter.com/JCfxtRk7yB
— Rod Breslau (@Slasher) August 6, 2020
Channel hacked. 2FA bypassed.
Live-streaming a Bitcoin scam to 40,000 live viewers.
Hackers have made $4,000 in Bitcoin so far. @TeamYouTube tells me I need to fill out a form and wait “a few weeks”.
If any ACTUAL YouTube reps see this, please get in contact with me. pic.twitter.com/s276Wp1LAt
— Jon Prosser (@jon_prosser) August 6, 2020
The channel owners report the hack immediately, but YouTube asks them to fill out a form, wait a few weeks for the Creator Support team to look into the issue, and only then decide what action is appropriate. Meanwhile, the actors are left undisturbed to continue streaming, credulous users are losing their crypto coins, and massive waves of unsubscriptions hit the channels.
Add to all this that all existing channel videos are being deleted, as you can’t have tech leaks on a SpaceX channel, and all the hard work of uploading and editing content on YouTube is essentially thrown in the garbage. Even if the creators have backups, which they often do, they’ll have to go through a lot of trouble to re-upload all their content.
The fuel that keeps the scamming fire burning on YouTube is the crypto that people are willing to send to the actors. In the last couple of days, and on Prosser’s channel alone, scammers made $4,000. This is the hackers’ motivation to go into trouble – and YouTube’s negligence and super-slow response are only making all that possible.
After all this time that the media has been warning people about this particular type of scams, if you still fall for it, maybe you should consider giving up the whole “crypto-investment” thing.