Some of YouTube’s most popular creators are being impersonated by scammers, who are targeting fans through direct messages on YouTube and Twitter with the promise of exclusive giveaways.
News YouTuber Philip DeFranco opened up his Wednesday show with a warning to viewers, showing a screenshot of a YouTube message from an account with a similar name and profile picture, which claimed that the recipient had won a “random subscriber” giveaway.
“Hi, thanks for commenting on my videos!” the message began. “I am selecting a random user from my subscriber list for a surprise gift and you have just won it!”
Philip Defranco isn’t the only popular YouTuber being impersonated, either; YouTubers such as MrBeast, Shane Dawson, Jeffree Star, and James Charles are likewise being targeted with similar messages, each of which include a suspicious link that likely leads to malware.
“Hey YouTube, I’m pretty sure 97% of messages sent on YouTube are scammers impersonating big YouTubers,” MrBeast said of the matter in a Tweet. “Please fix this or remove it. No one uses it, and it’s screwing over lots of people.”
Hey @YouTube I’m pretty sure 97% of messages sent on YouTube, are scammers impersonating big youtubers. Please fix this or remove it, no one uses it and it’s screwing over lots of people.
I get thousands of comments and tons of tweets about this every day. pic.twitter.com/y5SY4S2yza
— MrBeast (@MrBeastYT) January 20, 2019
YouTube has since responded to the debacle, claiming that they are currently enacting further safety measures to prevent such scams from taking advantage of users.
“We’re in the process of implementing additional measures to prevent impersonation like this,” the company wrote via Twitter. “In the meantime, your subs can protect themselves by blocking any account that is spamming them.”
Thanks for reporting on this spam issue! We’re in the process of implementing additional measures to prevent impersonation like this. In the meantime, your subs can protect themselves by blocking any account that is spamming them: https://t.co/uieSAi4k7Z
— Team YouTube (@TeamYouTube) January 23, 2019