Today, new research from Tenable has found that YouTube in particular is increasingly being used by scammers to target unsuspecting investors accessing the platform’s cryptocurrency videos. Scammers are on pace to steal nearly $1 million from YouTube users by purchasing ad space on YouTube cryptocurrency videos to promote a fake SpaceX coin that they fraudulently claim was created by Elon Musk. The campaign follows on from an earlier scam in which scammers compromised Twitter and YouTube accounts to promote a series of cryptocurrency scams ahead of Tesla and SpaceX founder Elon Musk’s appearance on Saturday Night Live, stealing over $10 million dollars in Bitcoin, Ethereum and Doge tokens.
Satnam Narang, Staff Research Engineer at Tenable believes these scams highlight how social media and YouTube in particular is increasingly being used by scammers as a resource to perpetuate cryptocurrency-related fraud.
Here’s a comment from Satnam Narang, Staff Research Engineer, Tenable.
“These get-rich-quick schemes in the world of cryptocurrency have been around since 2017 and they are not going away. The only thing that’s changed is the tactics in which scammers are using to make a quick buck. So users should be very wary about chasing overinflated profits. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
“Scammers will jump at any opportunity to create new coins and promote them through social media, or in this case, through YouTube advertisements. The rise of decentralised finance (DeFi) protocols and exchanges like Uniswap have provided scammers with another avenue to steal money from unsuspecting users with no recourse for recovery. Much of the scam activity I’ve seen tends to occur through the Ethereum blockchain and the Binance Smart Chain, which is based on the Ethereum blockchain.
“If users fall for a cryptocurrency scam, it’s highly unlikely that they can recover their funds because there is no centralised authority like a bank that can reverse the charges. The decentralisation of cryptocurrency that sets it apart from traditional finance is why it’s even more important for users to take necessary precautions to avoid being victims of crypto scams.”