Scam Under Investigation:

Beware of Fake Prize Giveaways Posted in YouTube Comments

If you regularly read comments on YouTube videos, you may have come across promises of cash and prizes from who you think is the YouTuber—all is not as it seems!

Pete Ottery
Updated 5 April 2022
Beware of Fake Prize Giveaways Posted in YouTube Comments
Scam Under Investigation:
Key Finding

Scammers respond to individual comments on YouTube, posing as the original video creator and offering extra content or free prizes to their audience.

Key Risk

Once lured onto other platforms like Telegram or WhatsApp, the imposter will ask for money such as "a delivery fee," but you'll never receive a prize—you'll simply lose your money.

Sections on this page
  1. How the YouTube Comment Scam Works
  2. How to Beat YouTube Comment Scams
  3. Red Flags to Watch Out For
  4. Frequently Asked Questions

The rise of many prominent YouTube channels and the large audiences they attract has meant scammers are targeting unsuspecting viewers of their videos in the comment sections. Scammers are getting very clever and targeted in their techniques. They post comments replying to individual people, posing as the original video creator, and lure them into believing they have won a prize or have some special offer available.   

Always be wary of initiating contact with a YouTube creator "off platform" (on Telegram or WhatsApp, etc.) or clicking on any links in the YouTube comments section, particularly if they are referring to:

  • Special offers on products
  • Product giveaways
  • Subscriber bonus content

How the YouTube Comment Scam Works

YouTube has become such a massive resource and important source of information that very prominent YouTube creators and their associated channels have attracted huge subscriber numbers. Because the owners of these channels have built strong brands and are generally trustworthy and respected personalities, scammers have learned to leverage that appeal. They are now posing as the original creator in the comments section.

Comment scam techniques are widespread and varied, but a popular technique on YouTube specifically.

How it works is relatively simple.

Scammers Impersonate YouTubers

Scammers create many fake accounts with the same profile picture as the video creator and clever variations on the username. They will then respond to individual comments from viewers offering a giveaway or prize for being a loyal fan.

Example Scammer Comments

Thanks for the feedback, Expect more videos very soon. Send a direct message, I have something for you...

Thanks for watching. Message right away I have something for you

Congratulations you have been selected amongst our shortlisted winners

The seemingly innocuous comments that don't contain any links lure victims in. The scammers will usually incorporate an action into their username like "Telegram me @MarquesBrownlee09." (The @username chosen by the scammers will often be very close to the original video creator's username to trick the reader.)

YouTube Comments Scam
Beware of scammer comments that look innocent but lead you into contacting them on other platforms such as Telegram or WhatsApp.

The Scammer Tries to Contact You Outside of YouTube

The scam works by getting you "off platform" and onto other services like Telegram or WhatsApp. Here they will direct message you and say you have won a prize or are being given some sort of special offer.

You may feel flattered and excited thinking you are communicating directly with the popular YouTuber, but you are, in fact, now messaging directly with the scammer.

You're Asked to Send Money or Click On a Link

The scammer will then ask for money for delivery of the "free" item or send your links that may be malicious or open you up to further malware or scams. 

Always Verify the YouTube Username

If you are ever contacting anyone directly via a platform like Telegram or WhatsApp, be sure to verify the exact username of the person. If they don't match, you are likely speaking with a scammer.

YouTube Comments Scam
Example of a conversation with a scammer. The scammer will often copy the legitimate profile photo from a reputable YouTuber like Marques Brownlee, but the username is the giveaway. If that is not the real username, you are dealing with an imposter.

How to Beat YouTube Comment Scams

YouTube itself is trying to fix the problem by providing buttons beneath comments to "report" or "flag" a message as spam, and you can do that when you believe the comment is indeed spam. YouTube has its hands full, though, as you can imagine, in keeping up with the millions of scam accounts created every day.

YouTuber Marques Brownlee has created a video (below) about the extent of the problem in detail and gives examples of how the scam can play out.

The way to beat this scam is to be very suspicious of any links or comments requesting you to make a connection, particularly taking the conversation outside the YouTube platform onto apps like Telegram or WhatsApp.

The most important thing is don't send them any money. If you have only messaged a scammer and provided no other details, you should delete the conversation and/or block and report the user in that app. 

More information about what defines recognized scams on YouTube and their mechanism for reporting scams are available at YouTube Help

Red Flags to Watch Out For

Typically scammers will try to entice viewers by responding to individual comments rather than open comments to all. This means viewers are often excited to receive a reply at all—and when it looks like it's from your favorite YouTuber, it is extra appealing.

Things to look out for within the comments that could point to a scam include:

  • Praise for your comment and a request for you to contact them on Telegram or WhatsApp
  • Mentions of special previews of products
  • Product giveaways
  • Bad grammar and liberal use of emoticons
  • Requests to pay for the delivery of special "free" offers

Frequently Asked Questions

Why do scammers post comments on YouTube videos?

Posting comments on YouTube videos is an easy way for scammers to find and contact potential victims. By posing as popular YouTubers, they gain fake trust and can easily trick people into falling for their schemes. 

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