Getting paid to like YouTube videos? Why it’s a scam you should avoid | Technology News | #youtubescams | #lovescams | #datingscams

Getting offers from strangers on WhatsApp and Telegram to earn easy money by liking videos on YouTube? While some recognize the scam at first sight, many non-tech-savvy users are still falling for it.

The ‘Like YouTube videos and earn money’ scam has been going on for a while now, with many people including a senior government official working for a central agency and a Bengaluru cop claiming they lost lakhs of rupees.

How does the scam work?

According to researchers at BitDefender Labs, the YouTube-like and earn scam starts with cybercriminals texting random users on WhatsApp and Telegram from unknown numbers asking if they want to earn extra income by liking videos on YouTube.

Scammers text unsuspecting users with messages like “Hello. I’m [redacted] Lopez Digital Marketing at [redacted], do you want some extra income?”, saying that it is a part-time job and that you won’t have to pay registration fees to start earning.

These cybercriminals then ask the user for information like their WhatsApp number, full name, age and occupation and bank account details so they can get paid. If you show interest, scammers will send you instructions on which videos they should hit the Like and Subscribe button and share screenshots as proof.

An image of a Telegram group asking users to join the ‘VIP’ group to get more tasks. (Image Source: BitDefender Labs)

Once done, researchers say that the cybercriminals will pay you for the work you have done. This is where the actual scam starts. Tapping on the greed, they will ask you to join a Telegram group, where you will get more tasks to earn money. These Telegram groups are also filled with screenshots of payments made to users to gain trust.

Upon completing some more tasks, you are then invited to join a ‘VIP ‘ group, which requires users to pay money upfront to unlock ‘high-paying’ tasks. Researchers say that the amount can range anywhere between $20 (approx Rs 1,600) to $1000 (approx Rs 83,000). If you pay the scammer to get access to the VIP group, they will then block you or stop responding to your messages.

How do I spot these scams?

While some scams are easy to spot, many take advantage of people wanting to earn money from the comfort of their homes. No job offers money for liking or watching videos on YouTube, so if you are contacted by someone you don’t know, the person is likely trying to scam you.

If they refuse to talk over the phone or provide details about their business, it’s a scam. Another tactic cybercriminals use is to ask users to pay money upfront to unlock high-paying tasks, so if you get such an offer, it’s best to ignore them.

To stay safe from such scams, report and block the number or account they are contacting you from and avoid sharing any information like bank account number. In case you are unsure if the work opportunity is legitimate or not, you can also make use of scam detection tools like Norton Genie or Bitdefender Scamio.

The ‘YouTube like and earn’ scam came to light after an architect living in Mumbai lost over Rs 7 lakh in May this year. A few months later, a Bengaluru cop also fell for the scheme, sending scammers anywhere between Rs 1,000 and Rs 3,000 in exchange for an attractive 30 per cent return on investment. While the cop registered a complaint and was aware of the cybercrime, he again fell for the scam and lost over Rs 3.3 lakh in just over a week.

And if you thought government officials were immune, a senior government official posted with a central agency in Delhi became the latest victim of the ‘YouTube like and earn’ scam, losing somewhere between Rs 3 lakh and Rs 5 lakh.

A senior police officer said that the cyber cell “found the victim received messages from various Telegram IDs in the name of investment. An inquiry into these accounts showed they were associated with several groups being run across India to sell SIM cards and bank accounts for similar frauds and scams.”

The police have warned people to steer clear of online jobs that promise a handsome amount in exchange for investing money.


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First uploaded on: 20-12-2023 at 13:29 IST

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