Google, and its YouTube subsidiary, is being taken to court after taking months to step in and put a stop to a Bitcoin scam that has been doing the rounds.
Steve Wozniak, together with 17 others, are suing YouTube for failing to protect their users while profiting from these scam channels through targeted advertising.
Devil in the Details
Steve Wozniak, Kate Winslet and other celebrities have been used as the face of the Bitcoin Code or Bitcoin profit scam and have had their images used without their permission. The scam promised to double the money received from unsuspecting viewers.
Recently, the scam went a step further when a genuine YouTube account was hacked and hosted a live event where people had to scan a QR code and transfer funds to “join the conversation”. This was done by using archived footage of Elon Musk and SpaceX.
Over 80,000 people watched the event and were clearly fooled by the con as a total 15.31 BTC was received.
Upcoming Court Case
Law firm Cotchett, Pitre and McCarthy is handling the case and partner Brian Danitz had this to say:
“The scope of the Bitcoin giveaway scam at YouTube is vast and still ongoing. The fraud victims bringing this complaint come from around the world, including the US, UK, Canada, Japan, Malaysia, China and all over Europe. The complaint alleges tens of millions of dollars in cryptocurrency has been lost in the scam which could have been prevented by YouTube.”
The case against YouTube isn’t that they were a vehicle to the scam, but that they seemed to let it carry on for months before stepping in.
Joe Cotchett, another partner at the firm, commented that YouTube allowed the scam to continue for months, and profited from it by selling targeted advertising.
This double your money back scam may have disappeared from YouTube for the moment, but Wozniak fears it won’t be long before it rears its ugly head again. Commenting during the press conference about the suit, Wozniak said:
“It’s like Whack-a-Mole. The feeling I get is that YouTube just doesn’t care.”
Many believe that if YouTube didn’t rely so much on their algorithms and had real, trained humans keeping an eye on activity, the scam could have been stopped in its tracks immediately.
There is, however, a great deal of responsibility that lies with the victims themselves as the scam relied on people who did not perform their own due diligence and who would simply send Bitcoin to an address on the promise of a big return.
Clearly there is a need for more financial and security literacy on all fronts. While scammers will always be around, educating victims will ensure they won’t get taken for a ride again.