Crypto scams are on the rise and the scammers are getting more sophisticated with their tactics. Some, however, have continued to use old and known tricks which have continued to garner more victims. Most of these crypto scams are perpetrated on social media platforms that are expected to take on the burden of keeping their users safe. They have failed to do this.
YouTube has become what is essentially a cesspit of crypto scams. This ranges from the “influencers” who convince their subscribers to buy into shitcoins or straight-up scams using the identity of well-known individuals. Such is the case in this report where a fraudulent YouTube video has managed to scam users out of about $400,000 and counting.
Fake Cathie Wood Video Scamming Users
A YouTube channel started livestreaming a video of ARK Invest CEO Cathie Wood talking about cryptocurrencies in the early hours of Friday. Also included in the video were Tesla CEO Elon Musk and Block CEO Jack Dorsey. The trio who are known to be among the most vocal personalities in the space were talking about bitcoin like they would in any conference. The problem was, this conference was held months ago.
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Nevertheless, this did not stop users from believing that it was being livestreamed. The video also included graphics talking about it being an official Ark Invest even, when it is clearly not, as well as blocks of texts highlighting a giveaway. The scam used in this one is simple; send so and so amount worth of bitcoin or ethereum to an account and they would send the user back double the amount.
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In the description of the video was a link to a website that housed the wallet addresses victims were supposed to send the money to. One would think this scam was see-through but it is not so. At the time of writing, there have been over 150 transactions on both wallets provided with about $400K already siphoned off unsuspecting investors.
The funds sent to these addresses have since been moved across multiple accounts but following the trail showed that the scammers have made over $150K in bitcoin and more than $230K in ethereum.
What Is YouTube Doing About Crypto Scams?
YouTube is the biggest streaming platform, so it is no surprise that scammers naturally gravitate towards the platform given the larger pool of potential victims. Thing is, scams like these have been going on for a while. They have been reported to YouTube numerous times but it seems the platform has refused to take any steps to stop these scammers.
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Bitcoinist reported that users had lost more than $7.7 million in a single month to YouTube scams back in November. These scams which usually feature a video from a prominent figure can last for days before they are stopped.
The livestream highlighted in this report had been running for more than 7 hours at the time of writing. Despite calls to draw attention to the scam, YouTube did not take the account down and left it running for hours. The account was finally removed by the platform after almost 8 hours citing a violation of its ToS. However, it was a little too late as over 150 people had lost thousands of dollars to the scammers.
Featured image from MalwareBytes Labs, chart from TradingView.com