As we all become more vigilant about avoiding scams on the internet, scammers are going to work even harder to trick us. They are clearly up for the challenge, as a recent YouTube email scam is so convincing that the YouTube support team went out of its way to warn users about fake emails that appear to be sent by YouTube but are actually phishing attempts.
Don’t fall for this YouTube email scam
Earlier this week, content creator Kevin Breeze took to Twitter to alert his followers to the new phishing campaign. Breeze received an email showing email@example.com as the sender. This is an address that YouTube uses, but the email wasn’t actually from YouTube.
As Breeze noted in a follow-up tweet, a scammer took advantage of YouTube’s video sharing system in an attempt to trick Breeze into clicking through to the video. The video, “Changes in YouTube rules and policies | Check the Description,” is not from YouTube. Scammers are just abusing the system to make their emails look like official correspondences.
As you can see in the screenshot below from Breeze, the video description includes a link to Google Drive and threatens to restrict the user’s access to the service if they don’t open the document and send a reply within seven days:
Admittedly, this is an incredibly sneaky and effective ploy, but that’s all it is. YouTube is never going to ask you to download a document in order to use its service. That said, we wouldn’t blame you if you couldn’t tell whether or not an email like this was real.
The (real) YouTube support team tells users not to download any files from emails they receive that look anything like the one in the tweet. You can also check out YouTube’s phishing FAQ to know what to look out for to stay safe from suspicious emails.