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Scammers will actually pay you $2 for a single YouTube like, targeting your inner greediness

Detail of like button on YouTube

If you are not new to the internet, you have surely come across a scamming scheme or two. Fake job listings, fraudulent Craigslist sellers, overpromising product ads, and so much more.

Now, imagine the possibility of sitting on your cozy couch, sipping a cup of tea, and earning money just by liking pre-selected YouTube videos. Does that sound too good to be true? Well, that's because it is.

And yet, some people fall victim to this specific scheme. Why? In part due to the gamble on the cybercriminal’s side.

Experts from the cybersecurity company Bitdefender warned against a new online scam utilizing three different social media and messaging platforms: YouTube, WhatsApp, and Telegram.

The core of the scam is very simple – an apparent easy income thanks to remotely executed tasks that don’t require any special skill or knowledge. Just a laptop, an internet connection, and your time. Specifically, you have to click the like and subscribe button on certain YouTube videos. That’s it. You don’t even have to watch them in full.

The scammers use WhatsApp to contact random users of Mark Zuckerberg’s messaging platform. They are sending spam messages in mass, hoping for a small percentage of users to take the initial bait.

Bitdefender Labs researchers pretended to be interested, in order to find out details about the whole chain of events that leads to an empty wallet. First, the scammers ask you to provide the following:

  • Your WhatsApp phone number.
  • Full name.
  • Age and occupation.
  • And most importantly: your bank account number.

What follows is the list of three YouTube videos. You have to click the like and subscribe, then take screenshots and send them to the person on the other side – called “a receptionist” – as proof. The receptionist then instructs you to download Telegram, another messaging platform known for freedom of speech, but also for the spread of misinformation and online scams.

Only now comes the main bait that separates this scamming scheme from thousands of others: you actually get paid. Bitdefender Labs researchers received roughly $6.50 for just a few quick clicks. The reason? This time around, the scammers decided to play a long game.

Online scams are all about trust. The higher trust the scammers manage to build, the greater the potential harm they can cause. And the ultimate trust-builder in this case is when somebody actually pays you what they promised.

Scammerss messages in their Telegram group luring possible victims
Telegram messaging app is a favorite place for many online scammers. In this case, they are sharing apparent proof of a user who was successfully paid for liking the YouTube videos after he sent some money upfront.

With the victim's judgment and caution affected by up until now positive experience, scammers try to get a return on their “investment”. They say you can earn much more by entering the VIP group of remote workers – but, you have to pay something upfront.

These upfront payments range from roughly $20.00 to $1,100. Once you pay, it's over. The scammers stop responding and block your number with virtually zero chance of getting your money back.

Still, if you ever fall victim to any online scam, don’t hesitate, file a police report. Additionally, remember to contact your bank, especially If you have disclosed your bank or card details to the fraudsters – you might prevent further financial losses.

Tricked or not, don’t forget to tell your family and friends as well. The more people are aware of the latest tactics of (not only) online scammers, the higher the chance that fraudsters’ long game will turn into a losing one.

Image: Bitdefender Labs

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