Un­der Zhao’s name, scam­mers got over $225K worth of BTC

AMBCrypto Weekly - - Front Page -

YouTube has for the long­est time de­fined and in­flu­enced our day-to-day life along with other so­cial me­dia plat­forms such as Face­book, In­sta­gram, and Tik­tok. News breaks here, trends are set here, money is made here; they are the go-to plat­forms.

Given that YouTube is one of the go-to hubs, there is also no way scam­mers would miss out on or­ches­trat­ing a ‘Giveaway’ scam, and this scam has been spread­ing like wild­fire since the end of last year. The scheme de­ployed is rather a nosweat game: cre­ate a chan­nel re­sem­bling the of­fi­cial com­mu­nity name, re­play an old con­fer­ence or in­ter­view video of a crypto-in­flu­encer, have a giveaway high­light at the end of the video redi­rect­ing users to check the de­scrip­tion, post the giveaway de­tails, and now, the im­por­tant piece of the puz­zle is to make sure that the en­tire scam is live.

Now, con­sid­er­ing how YouTube rec­om­mends videos based on past search his­tory, it was only nat­u­ral that these giveaway scams made it to my col­leagues and my rec­om­mended list; if you are some­one that does a lot of crypto-re­lated search on YouTube, then you too would have stum­bled upon at least one of these kinds of videos in the first three rows.

To see how ef­fi­cient these scams are, we an­a­lyzed a few of these ‘Live Giveaway Scams’ over six days. In these six days, Ethereum, Bit­coin, and Bi­nance took the front seat, while McAfee, Coin­base, Lite­coin and Bit­coin Cash took the back seat. Tak­ing 27 ad­dresses into con­sid­er­a­tion for six days, the scam­mers made a $330,959.30.

Modus Operandi Giveaway scams are no new tale in the cryp­to­sphere. On Twit­ter, Fake ac­counts are cre­ated un­der the names of Vi­ta­lik Bu­terin, Chang­peng Zhao and en­sur­ing that it re­sem­bles closely to that of the orig­i­nal ac­count.

The strat­egy em­ployed on Twit­ter was also just as easy; im­me­di­ately re­spond to the orig­i­nal Tweet with a giveaway promo, have mul­ti­ple fake ac­counts re­ply to the giveaway mes­sage with mes­sages that go along the lines of “Thanks! Re­ceived.” This saw even Pope Fran­cis and Elon Musk be­came the tar­get of scam­mers on Twit­ter.

A net­work of bot ac­counts pro­mot­ing scam ICOs and fake crypto give­aways con­tin­ued to tar­get public fig­ures both within and out­side the crypto world. Elon Musk - the face of Tesla and SpaceX - had stated:

“I want to know who is run­ning the Etherium scam­bots! Mad skillz …”

While Ethereum was at the apex of Twit­ter scams, it has also taken the top spot in the YouTube giveaway scams as well. A to­tal of $64,038.38 worth of Ethereum was si­phoned via YouTube scams, all of them fea­tur­ing the ‘Great Dic­ta­tor’ Vi­ta­lik Bu­terin.

The con­di­tions to par­tic­i­pate in these scam games were quite in­ter­est­ing. Send +3 ETH, get 30 ETH back; send 10+ ETH, get 100 ETH back with 10 per­cent bonus, and as the amount sent in­creases, the amount promised to send back also in­creases.

Bi­nance’s “Chang­peng Zhao’s YT videos” took the crown in terms of the amount scammed by users within a week’s time. With Bu­terin promis­ing Ethereum back, Zhao was spot­ted promis­ing to giveaway Bit­coin back on the video-shar­ing plat­form.

Un­der Zhao’s name, scam­mers have man­aged to take home over $225K worth of Bit­coin, with these videos record­ing more view­ers com­pared to oth­ers.

On whether this scam-game had an im­pact on the YouTube’s move to take down crypto-videos, Bob Sum­mer­will - ETC Co­op­er­a­tive Di­rec­tor - shared his thoughts with AMBCrypto,

“Yes, though not ex­clu­sively be­cause of that. More gen­er­ally, there is no qual­ity bar for crypto videos and it is in­flu­enc­ing peo­ple to put money at risk into projects many of which are scams. It is hard for YouTube to ad­e­quately en­sure that there are not scams on­go­ing.”

On the im­pact, Sum­mer­will stated,

“Not re­ally, ex­cept for elim­i­nat­ing the scam­mi­est el­e­ments. High-qual­ity con­tent will find other plat­forms. Hav­ing some bar­rier to en­try is not a bad thing.”

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