According to Group-IB, a leading provider for cyberattack prevention, a group of fraudsters managed to steal around $1.7 million by promising cryptocurrency giveaways.
The security vendor stated that the gang ran 36 YouTube streams between February 16 and 18, attracting around 165,000 viewers.
In order to make their scam look more legitimate they used pre-recorded videos of tech entrepreneurs and crypto enthusiasts like Elon Musk, Brad Garlinghouse, Michael Saylor, Changpeng Zhao or Cathie Wood.
The YouTube channels, that were used to broadcast the scams were either hacked or purchased on some underground market, Group-IB claimed.
In the YouTube streams they added links to at least 29 websites with instructions on how to 'double cryptocurrency investments'. In order to participate, people were urged to send a small amount of cryptocurrency that then should be doubled up and sent back.
Within three days, the fraudsters received 281 transactions summing up to almost $1.7 million worth of cryptocurrencies.
"The fake giveaway scheme is not new, but apparently is still having a moment Further analysis of the scammers' domain infrastructure revealed that the 29 websites were part of a massive network of 583 interconnected resources all set up in the first quarter of 2022", said Group-IB.
"Notably, there were three times as many domains registered for this scheme in less than three months of 2022 compared to the whole of last year."
Group-IB urges crypto enthusiasts to be skeptical of free giveaways and to never share any confidential data online.