Don’t be fooled: Scammers are pretending to be top YouTube stars and offering ‘gifts’ (GOOG, GOOGL)

A YouTube scam reported this week is upholding the age-old adage —if it sounds too good to be true, well, you know the rest.

On Wednesday, YouTube star Philip DeFranco warned his 6 million-plus subscribers not to trust any direct messages pretending to come from his account that promise rewards for clicking a specified link.

“If you have gotten a message from me or any other creator on YouTube that looks something like this, that is very likely someone trying to scam you,” DeFranco said in his video. The messages vary slightly, but in general, they thank the subscriber for commenting on a video and say they’ve been randomly selected to receive a “gift.”

The scam appears to be a fairly typical online phishing scheme, which target individuals to divulge personal information, like credit card and social security numbers.

Read more: Think you can spot a hacker’s phishing email? Take Google’s quiz and find out

YouTube did not provide an official comment to Business Insider regarding the issue, rather it pointed us to its community forum where the company had recently answered a user’s complaint on the topic.

“We’re aware and in the process of implementing additional measures to fight impersonation,” a YouTube employee wrote. “In the meantime, we’ve removed accounts identified as spam.” The company also said users could block any account spamming them and that the perpetrating channels can be reported through its Reporting Tool.

As of Friday afternoon, 188 YouTube users on the community page claimed to have fallen for the scam.

According to The Verge, subscribers to other popular YouTube stars including James Charles, Jeffree Star, and Bhad Bhabie have also reported the scam.

Got a tip? Contact this reporter via Signal at +1 (209) 730-3387, email at, or Twitter DM at @nickbastone.

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