Fraudsters Set up Fake YouTube Cryptocurrency Giveaway to Steal $1.68m Online

In another YouTube crypto giveaway scam, some fraudsters carted over $1.68m from victims’ virtual currency wallets. Group-IB, a Singaporean security organization on Internet-related issues, revealed this in a report on Friday. The fraudsters had reportedly promised the victims quick high returns on cryptocurrency investments.

The scammers had reportedly spoken with the said victims between the 16th of February and the 18th of February this year. Group-IB added that it’s yet to accurately tell the actual amount of money stolen by the fraudsters in the said incident. 

The cybersecurity organization also expressed doubts about its estimates of how many individuals fell victim to the fraudulent operations. However, the reports reveal that the scammers had used images of well-known enthusiasts in the digital currency world like Elon Musk and Michael Saylor in lending credibility to their fraudulent activities.

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This development adds to the increasing number of cryptocurrency get-rich-quick fraudulent operations promising targets a quick ROI when they invest large sums of money through digital assets. Most recent scam accounts via the cryptocurrency world have shown that most of such fraudulent operations occurred on social media.

Going further in their disclosure, Group-IB reported that the fraudsters ran 36 fake cryptocurrency donations via YouTube streams using the images of renowned and wealthy enthusiasts of digital assets to lure their victims.

The reports explained that the YouTube accounts utilized for the scams were either hacked or bought from scrupulous marketplaces. Usually, according to Group-IB, the YouTube streams would attract up to 18,000 views. 

One such fake video promising viewers to double their cryptocurrency savings within a short time got over 160,000 views. This particular video utilized footage of Ethereum’s co-founder, Vitalik Buterin, to achieve the scammers’ mischievous intentions.

The Fraudsters’ Schemes

Group-IB further disclosed that the fraudsters placed links to specific sites on the description pages beneath their videos on YouTube. The sites promised to teach the viewers the technicalities behind the scrupulous freebies.

The firm disclosed further that multiple domain names had similar cryptocurrency wallet details. Moreover, the specialists detected over 30 cryptocurrency wallets connected to the scheme, all having a total remaining balance of almost $1m.

According to the Singapore-based cybercrime watchdog, technical analysis of the fraudsters’ domain showed that about 29 sites belonged to a broader network of over 580 interlinked online resources. Ethereum is the virtual currency that the fraudsters reportedly used the most during the operations. 

An Unusual Technique

Group-IB cybersecurity analysts described the scammers’ techniques in setting up their websites as “unusual.”

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The websites asked visitors to the websites to put in a “seed phrase” towards connecting their e-wallets. As soon as someone shared the seed phrase, the scammers would take over their cryptocurrency accounts and could withdraw all funds from them.

Group-IB closed its reports by warning digital wallet users of cryptocurrencies to maintain vigilance concerning freebies and donations. The firm also alerted crypto wallet users to be wary of sharing sensitive information on shady websites – especially pages they’re yet to double-check. 

Cryptocurrency scams have kept increasing, with illicit fraudulent activities carting away nearly 14 billion USD in 2021, compared to about 8 billion USD in 2020, according to a report by, Chainalysis.