Tens of thousands of viewers watched a fake Apple crypto scam on YouTube

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Tim Cook speaks in an interview. The logos for Bitcoin and Ethereum are in the top-right corner.
A screenshot from a bogus Apple dwell stream that really appears to be a crypto scam. | Screenshot by Jay Peters / The Verge

Someone on YouTube was dwell streaming an outdated interview with Tim Cook that was seemingly getting used to draw consideration to a crypto scam — and when it was dwell, tens of thousands of viewers had been tuning.

If you’ve seen crypto scams on YouTube earlier than, you’d have acknowledged a lot of hallmarks of what was going on. The fake dwell stream was getting consideration by filling its description with an array of Apple keywords in each the title and outline. But if you really opened it up, it was stuffed with odd messages linking to a shady-looking crypto website.

The stream had lots of indicators of being fake. It had a unusual title — “Apple Event Live. Ceo of Apple Tim Cook: Apple & Metaverse in 2022.” — and it’s was displaying an outdated interview that CNN conducted with Cook in 2018. The streamer added the Bitcoin and Ethereum logos to the video stream, coated the CNN Money brand with the textual content “Apple Crypto Event 2022,” and added daring textual content studying “URGENT NEWS” on the backside. And when you really clicked into the channel’s web page (which claimed to be “Apple LIVE”), the URL didn’t have something to do with Apple. That might recommend the channel had a completely different goal at one level however was hijacked by unhealthy actors and used to host the stream.

YouTube didn’t instantly reply to a request for remark. Shortly after this story was revealed, the stream was eliminated for violating YouTube’s phrases of service.

While the bogus dwell stream clearly wasn’t really from Apple, it was occurring when as a main highlight is on the corporate. Apple streamed its massive iPhone 14 announcement occasion hours in the past, and CEO Tim Cook is at the moment being interviewed at Vox Media’s Code convention this night. This deceptive stream appeared to be an try and trick individuals who could also be conscious that Apple is having a massive day however not know precisely what’s going on.

I stumbled on this stream as a result of it was really useful on my YouTube homepage — that may have been partly as a result of I’ve been watching Apple movies from the occasion all through the day. When I first started watching the fake stream, there have been round 16K viewers, and proper earlier than first publishing this story, that depend was almost 70K.

The Verge additionally discovered a dwell stream on a separate (and in addition sketchy) channel claiming it was “Apple Inc” [sic]. The stream presupposed to be an occasion that includes Cook and Tesla CEO Elon Musk about Apple and the metaverse, nevertheless it was really repurposing an interview about Bitcoin with Musk and Block chief Jack Dorsey. It noticed stream numbers attain above 10,000 viewers, and in addition linked to a sketchy-looking crypto website within the chat. It has additionally been eliminated.

Update September seventh, 10:54PM ET: YouTube has eliminated the dwell streams.

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