Bitcoin scammers take YouTube channels for a SpaceX ride – Naked Security | #youtubescams | #lovescams | #datingscams

Crypto scammers hijacked three YouTube channels to impersonate Elon Musk’s SpaceX channel, offering bogus BTC giveaways that earned them nearly USD $150,000 over the course of two days.

The scamming channels were first reported on Hacker News. Bleeping Computer followed up with a full report.

According to Bleeping Computer and the reports filed in the BitcoinAbuse database, the scammers took over legitimate YouTube accounts and changed the branding to look like that of Elon Musk’s rocket company. They were caught live-streaming footage of the founder as he spoke at conferences and during interviews.

The hijacked YouTube channels – previously known as Juice TV, Right Human, and MaximSakulevich – were renamed Space X Live or SpaceX after crooks got control of them. Then, the channels were used to push scams that asked for a small amount of Bitcoin in exchange for double their money back.

The hijacked accounts came with sizable numbers of subscribers: one had 230,000 followers, while another had 131,000. The legitimate SpaceX YouTube channel has 4.33 million subscribers.

The ruse worked. As of Tuesday, there were 80,000 people watching the live stream. Since 8 June, the scam had generated close to $150,000 in bitcoins.

Before they got yanked for violating YouTube policy, the channels running these scams were asking people to send bitcoins to two addresses. One wallet recorded 85 transactions, receiving 11.25 BTC, while a second, with 37 transactions, took in 5.51 BTC.

The bitcoin addresses were reported to the BitcoinAbuse database – a good place to check on whether an address has been reported for milking people.

Musk is a tasty target

With a following as big as the legitimate SpaceX, it’s easy to see why this isn’t the first time that Musk and his rocket company have been used to promote a crypto scam.

In October 2018, we saw it happen on Twitter. In spite of only being up for 12 hours, 17 people fell for it. The scammers made 1.623 BTC, which at the time was worth over $10,000 USD.