In the scam, fake direct messages purporting to be from such YouTube stars as Philip DeFranco are sent to their subscribers, with instructions to click on a link to win a free prize. DeFranco posted a video on the scheme with an example of a message sent through YouTube’s platform that appeared to be from him.
“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,” he said in the video.
DeFranco and other YouTube creators are “getting a ton of messages” on the topic, DeFranco added.
Online messages purporting to be from a reputable source are often used in phishing schemes, used to induce people to disclose personal information, such as credit card or Social Security numbers.
Replying to DeFranco’s video alert, YouTube in a tweet said it was taking further steps “to prevent impersonation like this.” In the meantime, subscribers can block any account spamming them, the platform said.
Google did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Subscribers to popular YouTube content providers James Charles, Jeffree Star and Bhad Bhabie also received the phony messages, according to The Verge.