YouTube creator Pogo, who has over 840,000 subscribers, has had his account hijacked by crypto fraudsters.
The hackers have renamed the channel and are live streaming a scam Ethereum ‘giveaway’.
Using the classic ‘send ETH to receive more ETH’ tactic, the fraudsters are promising viewers “5 times more BTC/ETH” if they deposit funds to their personal Ethereum address.
Pogo, who has built up a dedicated YouTube following over the past 13 years, reviewed movies and games for some 843,000 subscribers.
The account has been renamed to ‘Ethereum 2.0 Foundation’, the banner has been changed to an Ethereum logo, and all of the content creator’s original videos have been deleted.
Pogo tweeted the following in the early hours of this morning:
My @YouTube channel is hacked. 13 years of content just got deleted. Hackers have transferred the channel to their account. @TeamYouTube has yet to step in and help despite my efforts. I'm sorry everybody. They look like scammers — please avoid clickbait!
— POGO (@OfficialPogo) January 15, 2020
In place of Pogo’s content is a live stream video – still up at the time of writing – which shows a pre-recorded interview with Vitalik Buterin that the scammers say is a live broadcast.
The video, which currently has over 1,000 live viewers, says in its description:
“To celebrate Вinance’s New Fiat Listings and the Еthereum 2.0 Pre-Release, Вinance and Ethereum Foundation have committed to giving away 10,000 BTC and 100,000 ETH to thank our users worldwide for their continued support.”
The description says that users must send a minimum of 0.1 BTC or 5 ETH to the scammer’s wallets to be eligible for the airdrop.
It is, of course, a thinly veiled attempt at stealing viewers’ funds. Etherscan shows the address currently holds 40 ETH in total, which looks like it may have been deposited by the scammers to appear legitimate.
Luckily, it seems that few – if any – real cryptocurrency investors have been naive enough to fall for the scam, which has been broadcasting for over 10 hours.
YouTube providing no assistance
Pogo claimed in his tweet that YouTube is yet to step in, despite his best efforts to report the hack – instead allowing the blatant scam to continue live streaming.
Similar live stream scams have become prevalent on YouTube, with the platform doing little to dissuade crypto fraudsters from hosting their videos.
Initially, scammers would create their own channels to defraud unsuspecting users. However, it seems the new and more sinister approach has been to hijack popular channels and use their large subscriber base to attract more victims.
Even though such scams seem to have an incredibly low success rate, the real victims are the content creators whose channels are hacked and used to distribute nefarious material.
You can read more about similar cryptocurrency scams here.