Beware! YouTube “Social Media Marketing” Scam Snatches Cash After Luring Users with Likes & Subscriptions.
Cybersecurity researchers at Bitdefender Labs have uncovered a new scam wherein users earn money by liking random YouTube videos. In this scam, threat actors send a message from an unknown number, usually beginning with an African country code, promising payment for liking videos on YouTube.
Bitdefender researchers participated in one such scam for investigative purposes and found that scammers ask for personal information, including WhatsApp phone number, age, occupation, full name, and bank account number before asking the victim for likes and subscriptions.
Further, researchers were instructed to like three YouTube videos and send screenshots as proof. The researchers were then instructed to download Telegram, join a channel, and discuss payment with a receptionist. After providing the required data, researchers received a payment of 30 RON ($6.50). The scammer then promised additional daily tasks.
However, the scam’s second phase starts after the victim joins the Telegram channel. They are invited to join a VIP group for higher-earning tasks, which can only be unlocked for a fee, ranging from $21.66 to $1,083. Once the victim makes the payment, scammers block their number and stop communicating. Their Telegram channel features screenshots of payments made to victims to gain trust, highlighting the scammers’ intent.
According to Bitdefender Labs’ blog post, researchers found similar job listings on Facebook groups promoting remote work or lucrative pay for liking/subscribing to YouTube channels. One of the posts read, “Hello. I’m Lopez Digital Marketing at , do you want some extra income?
Scammers claim that users can make 30 RON by liking 3 videos and earn around 200-2,000 RON or more per day. One of the intros scammers posted with the offers read (translated in English from Romanian):
“We are a global multinational company and we are currently working as a social media team to increase the visibility of social media celebrities on YouTube and get paid by following and liking our celebrity YouTube accounts. We have to fill out the form to pay you a salary of 30 RON.”
Although this isn’t the first time a scam is pitched to make money, this time, “victims actually get paid something,” which is “a highly successful tactic”, explained Bitdefender’s Cyber Threat Intelligence Lab’s Manager, Nicolae Postolachi.
That’s because it generates a sense of trust and convinces users to “invest” in becoming VIP members to earn easy money on effortless tasks such as liking YouTube videos.
Remember, there are no secret tools, apps, or platforms that enable easy money. To steer clear of scams on WhatsApp, exercise caution with recruiters who demand high payments for tasks like watching or liking YouTube videos, encourage users to download Telegram, or request upfront payments to unlock higher-paying opportunities.
If you fall victim, take screenshots, cease communication, block the user, and leave the Telegram group. Secure your accounts with strong passwords and enable two-factor authentication. Report the scam account to the social media platform, file a police report, and alert friends and family.
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