Scammers are running in Youtube fake Ripple, Bitcoin and other cryptocurrency fake giveaways for years. I remember finding one since 2017. Hackers are taking control of youtube accounts having hundreds of thousands of subscribers, delete uploaded videos and modify the users' identity to look like an important figure in cryptocurrencies as Ripple's exec Brad Garlinghouse or Binance's Chiangpeng Zhao (CZ) for example.
Without wasting any time they live-stream some old video containing an interview or a conference speech of this person. The video contains banners about a giveaway of XRP, Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. These hackers control an army of more than 20,000 youtube bot accounts which they use to increase viewers' numbers on their live-streams.
Live-Streaming Fake Givaway (Screenshot)
The scammers ask viewers to send crypto to certain addresses with the promise of instantly sending back double the amount. Many unsuspected cryptocurrency users have fallen victim to this scam. These scams target inexperienced people that are mostly beginners with cryptocurrencies and unaware of the dangers.
I have informed the Uptrennd community many times about these types of scams on previous articles (link 1, link 2, link 3) and instantly made a post on Uptrennd a few minutes after the major twitter hack happened a few days ago. The only way to fight crypto scams is by creating enough awareness of this problem and informing as many people as possible about these dangers.
XRP was the most used cryptocurrency by these scammers and Brad Garlinghouse was impersonated the most in these fake giveaways. Ripple has filed a lawsuit against Youtube since April considering the platform responsible for not doing enough to stop the scammers from profiting with millions from this, as well as claiming that Youtube is liable as they profit from advertisements hosted on these channels while they promote the fake giveaways. Ripple claims that members of their company have been impersonated at least in 305 occasions so far, all from different hacked accounts, some of them verified.
In the lawsuit, it is specifically stated that:
YouTube has the means to stop the Scam, but refuses to do so.
Fake Giveaways (Image Source)
Youtube lawyers denied liability for the actions of hackers and dismissed the lawsuit claiming that the platform is not responsible for the cryptocurrency scams as the content was not created by Youtube but from third parties and invoked Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act which protects platforms from content created by third parties.
The fact is that Youtube has a massive problem on its hands right now. The hacking of youtube accounts happens through phishing emails send to unsuspected YouTubers which when replied the user unintentionally shares the Youtube credentials of the targeted account. Meanwhile, there have been tens of thousands of youtube accounts hacked. These accounts while they can boost live viewers numbers, are filtered out from pumping the numbers of uploaded videos. A major reason for hackers using youtube's live-stream service is this, as well as that live-streams with a lot of viewers, show up higher on the search results.
Lately, Youtube is blocking faster similar attempts and while the Ripple lawsuit does not concern us directly, everyone is expecting more to be done to eradicate this phenomenon. It is also a major thread for YouTubers that might have tried for years to build an audience and manage to make a steady income from their video content. I've read comments from some of them that they managed to get back their accounts months later, meanwhile having lost most of their active audience.
We have to keep informing the crypto community and especially friends and people close to us not just about the dangers involved with cryptocurrencies, but mostly about being careful when using the internet and responding to emails and private messages. We must understand that any account can be hacked and hackers may impersonate our friends or family trying to extract funds from us.
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Cryptocurrency & Blockchain
A cryptocurrency is a digital asset designed to work as a medium of exchange that uses strong cryptography to secure financial transactions, control the creation of additional units, and verify the transfer of assets.