Scams are everywhere; all of us are aware of that. They range from phone calls to emails and even door to door scams. People are always looking for an easy way to make money, and doing that over the internet isn’t new.
However, scammers are taking a new approach. If you frequent websites such as YouTube and Twitch.tv, you’ve most like seen some people posting links in the comments or making a plug for another channel/website. Most of the time, you would ignore these links, but every once in a while, you may accidentally click one. People, especially on YouTube, are going one step further.
I will make a hypothetical scenario for you. Imagine if your favorite actor, YouTuber, Twitch streamer, or model was advertising something on the website they post on the most. The site may be anything from YouTube to Facebook. In this scenario, you would be more likely to look into what they are advertising than if it was from some random stranger on the same site. This is where the issue with scamming comes in. On many websites, you are required to make a username and layout a homepage of some sort, but on certain sites like YouTube, it is very easy to design your home page to look identical to another user’s page.
That’s right, people are impersonating celebrities! Well, I guess that isn’t much of a surprise. The reason you should be worried about it though is because these scammers are good. They will copy the channel videos and will keep bringing viewers back, surprisingly enough. The worst part is that they will comment on videos or other posts and post links to sites, saying they have a deal on a “great product” or something similar and that you can get it for cheap. Giveaways are also common, and the sites they send you to will be convincing as well.
Many of these sites will have spyware and malware that can track your keystrokes and get your information. This situation has gotten so bad that YouTubers such as Markiplier, who has 8 million plus subscribers, have made videos talking about the rise in the number of scammers and assuring viewers that they won’t post links in the comments. The fact that they have to make an announcement is more than worrisome.
How can you become more informed and protected when it comes to this problem? Well, just by reading this, you are gaining a little more of an understanding of this issue and hopefully that will help you prevent any of your information being stolen. What further measure can you take? Regular virus scans will help find and remove malware and spyware. Programs that I suggest that can do this are Malwarebytes and Avast, which are both free. However, if you have the money to spend, the premium versions offer much better protection but are not needed if you only run regular scans. Norton and McAfee are a few others that do cost money, but they are backed by countless companies and are used by a wide variety of people.
If you want to learn even more about these issues, and not just when it comes to the internet and entertainment sites, the Financial Fraud Research Center has a lot of extremely helpful information related to this topic. Now get out there and stay safe!