I subscribed to a YouTube channel several weeks ago. They opened the channel in November 2020, they're based in Northern Ireland, they review technology, have thousands of subscribers and I leave a comment every now and then, like twice a month or less.
Three days ago, I left one of my rare comments to their latest video, and I quickly received a reply from the owner with the request for a contact on Telegram. So I did.
They told me I had won a very expensive camera in a giveaway draw. The only thing I had to do was giving them my home address. So I did. Then they told me I had to pay for the shipping. They requested a transfer via PayPal, but it didn't go through. Then they gave me a different email address, but it didn't go through either. The first hesitation hit me, the second email address for the PayPal transfer had an eastern European person's name.
So they asked me to pay via Google Play cards. I did as requested.
Right after this, they asked me to pay for the customs duties because the prize was coming from the USA. And this was a lot of money. They hadn't mentioned it before.
So I started getting suspicious and refused to do that. I received some goods from the USA before, and I always paid for the duties at the delivery man, not beforehand.
What makes me more suspicious is that the messages I'm receiving have gone from a perfect colloquial English to a poor or broken English. Also, the header of the Telegram account went from the YouTube channel's name to just "giveaway" halfway through the chat. The last messages are getting persistent and seems like the words are always the same, like it was a bot or something. They're not consistent with my questions. They just keep asking me to send them the money for the customs duties.
Their reply to my last YouTube comment (where they asked to contact them on Telegram) has disappeared, but I have a screenshot of it.
In your opinion, what could have happened? I doubt that a well established YouTube channel is working a scam, but things aren't clear at all. I suspect that someone is using their identity to scam people.
P.S.: Mods, please move this thread to a different forum if needed.
Sounds like a scam. How much was the postage?
This is the correct forum.
The reply on YouTube was likely from a scammer that had set an account with an almost identical name to the channel and using their avatar.
This is absolutely a scam. No legitimate entity would ask you to pay in Google Play cards.
None would ask you to communicate on Telegram as opposed to, say, email.
None would ask you to pay shipping for a prize they wanted to give you.
I mean really, just think about it, every thing about it screams scam. You need to be more savvy online.
As above, the scam alarm bells should have been ringing after the first message. There are so many ways to impersonate or hack genuine accounts. I just hope you didn't lose too much with the shipping costs.
Actually it was lots of money.
They asked what kind of shipping I would prefer, I picked the least expensive, $133
When they asked me to contact them via Telegram, I looked for the YouTube channel name on Telegram and found the account with the same avatar as YouTube. So it looked genuine.
Halfway through the chat the name changed to "giveaway", the avatar was still the same.
As a matter of fact, the reply to my YouTube comment looked genuine, same avatar and name as the channel.
Even the first messages on Telegram were looking fine, until the language used changed to something more broken.
The eastern European name of the PayPal account was quite consistent with the fact that the real YouTuber has an Instagram account where he's with a woman who looks like an eastern Europe one.
Sorry to hear that, it's an expensive lesson. A good rule of thumb is that no one trying to give you anything will expect you to pay to receive it.
I'm still receiving persistent message where they ask me to complete the payment process.
I'm thinking about trying to contact the "real" YouTube channel owner, if there's a way to do so, so that he's aware of what happens on his channel.
It is not happening on his channel. You are being scammed through a person contacting you via another platform (Telegram). All the original site owner will be able to do, is to warn other subscribers to their own site, to be more vigilant and understand that the internet is full of people trying to scam you.
My basic rule of thumb (for online activity or texts received) ..... do not reply to any contact that you have not initiated in the first place. If something comes to you out of the blue, with an offer that is too good to miss... it's a scam. If something doesn't look right..... it's not right.
Unfortunately OP, there are so many warning bells ringing in your story, it is a classic example of a not very sophisticated scam .... but a scam none the less. I am sorry you have been had, but it is an important lesson and could have been much worse.
The scammer has been harassing me with their message for a couple of days, asking me to complete the payment or the shipping process couldn't go on.
So I eventually replied to them that I had changed my mind about the prize and wanted my money bac. I know It was pointless, just wanted to see what could happen. I was expecting them to be silent because they obtained what they was after. To my surprise, they replied to me and repeated the same story. I told them they are scammers, they swore they are honest, I accused them they are a 'bot and asked them for proof they are real, I am waiting for a response.
Right now I'm just having fun, I know that nothing will change, I just want to have some fun.
Meanwhile I tried to reach for the real YouTuber but hadn't no reply.
I entered a competition recently through Youtube. Had 2 different comments from 2 separate profiles claiming that i'd won. Like most scams, they will try mimicing the legit page to gain trust. I didnt do anything. Just blocked and reported them.
This morning, following one of messages from these people, I asked them to prove they were real, just for joke.
They sent me a photo of a storage filled with packages ready for shipping, and the message "one of the packages is yours, waiting for the customs duties to be cleared".
Later this afternoon they even called me twice via Telegram (I didn't even know it could be used for calls). I was at the vets' and couldn't take the call.
Now the question is: how motivated can they be to be so insistent to the point they are calling me? I thought that a scammer would give up when they suspect they have been exposed.
Why would they give up? You can't trace them, can't get them in trouble and you've already demonstrated that you'll both give them money and keep talking to them even though you know they're thieves.
I honestly don't think it's a good for you to keep up contact, with all due respect I think it's likely they'll find some way to trick you into sending good money after bad.
Check out Jim Browning and Kitboga on YouTube. There's nothing those scammers won't do to get money out of you. And unfortunately since you've demonstrated that you're willing to hand over your money to then, they'll keep trying unless you block them.
Do you mind me asking what sort of age bracket you fall into?
As others have said this is 100% a scam, pretty common on YouTube these days.
Heres a recent video covering it
Lesson learned, it’s best to cut ties with them now. Rather than keep up the back and forth.