Popular YouTuber Scuba Jake has confirmed the hacking of his channel with over 13 million subscribers and 1.75 billion views since the channel’s creation in 2011. The September 9 incident saw crypto scammers take over the channel and attempt to defraud unsuspecting followers in a fake giveaway involving Bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum (ETH).
An analysis by Finbold indicates that the scammers made away with 1.01 BTC, equivalent to about $21,000 in the fake crypto giveaway. The analysis was based on QR codes shared by scammers for users to scan before sending the cryptocurrencies.
According to Blockchain.com, the Bitcoin wallet shared has recorded four transactions since its creation. The wallet received a total of 1.0107 BTC, the same amount that was also cashed out.
It is worth noting that the lost amount could be higher since the scammers might have changed the wallets during the live stream. Elsewhere, the Ethereum wallet analysis indicates no transaction has been made.
The scam mirrored other fraudulent incidents on YouTube where scammers use an old interview involving a renowned individual in crypto circles, re-post it as a livestream, and promote the fake giveaway in the information section. It is argued that scammers opt for the live option because it offers more credibility.
How scammer defrauded Scuba Jake followers
Under the hack, the scammer changed the Scuba Jake’s channel to ‘MicroStargey US,’ impersonating the crypto-friendly United States business intelligence firm MicroStrategy.
Notably, the scammers hosted at least two live streams of an old video involving outgoing MicroStrategy’s CEO and Bitcoin crusader Michael Saylor. In this case, the scammers lured unsuspecting followers into sending cryptocurrency, thinking they would receive a prize from Saylor or higher returns.
The scammers targeted the treasure hunt channel, possibly due to the enormous following, considering that since its creation in 2011, it has amassed over 1.7 billion views cumulatively. The channel had been restored by press time, with Jake confirming the same through an Instagram story on September 10.
Overall, cases of scammers leveraging YouTube have been on the rise impacting high-profile individuals and organizations. As reported by Finbold, scammers also hacked the YouTube channel belonging to the South Korean government and shared a crypto video. However, the government managed to restore the account.
YouTube on the spot over crypto scams
The situation has resulted in Musk blasting YouTube for allegedly doing nothing in tackling the fraud in a tweet posted on June 7, 2022. Saylor also expressed his frustration with YouTube’s failure to act with a reply to the tweet.
Furthermore, research by antivirus software firm Kaspersky revealed that besides hijacking YouTube channels, scammers are increasingly prowling the comments section under videos to promote fake crypto services while offering low prices for certain currencies.
Notably, the bad actors usually target top-trending videos and leave comments promoting a fake “breach” in the crypto market with enticing statistics.