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Stolen TikTok Videos have Infiltrated YouTube Shorts

Scammers utilise viral TikTok material to easily rig YouTube Shorts, swindling both creators and users.


Scammers are taking full advantage of the debut of Google's new TikTok competitor, YouTube Shorts, which has proven to be an excellent platform for feeding stolen content to billions of engaged viewers. Researchers have cautioned that this content is being exploited to conduct rackets such as advertising adult dating websites, hustling diet pills, and selling marked-up commodities. Although YouTube Shorts is still in beta, scammers have had plenty of time to shift their best TikTok-tested flimflams over to the Google cosmos, which is already populated by billions of viewers. 

Satnam Narang, a Tenable analyst, has been analyzing social media for over a decade and discovered that scammers are having great success stealing TikTok's most viral videos and exploiting them on YouTube Shorts to get viewers to click on a variety of sites and links. Narang examined 50 distinct YouTube channels and discovered that, as of December, they had accumulated 3.2 billion views across at least 38,293 videos stolen from TikTok creators. He stated that the YouTube channels had over 3 million subscribers. 

The most common type of fraud Narang discovered was the use of extremely popular TikTok videos, especially challenges showing gorgeous women, to serve links to adult dating sites that run affiliate programmes that pay for clicks.

These websites pay affiliates on a cost per action (CPA) or cost per lead (CPL) basis to incentivize them. Scammers, on the other hand, have started taking advantage of these affiliate offers to gain cash by duping users of social media networks. Scammers only need to persuade consumers to visit these adult dating websites and sign up with an email address, whether valid or not. When a visitor to an adult dating website becomes a registered user, the fraudster is able to get anywhere from $2–$4 for the successful CPL conversion. 

“While adult-dating scams proliferate across many platforms, the introduction of YouTube Shorts, with its enormous potential reach and built-in audience, is fertile ground that will only serve to help these scams become even more widespread,” Narang explained. “This trend is alarming because of how successful these tactics have become so quickly on YouTube Shorts, based on the volume of video views and subscribers on these fake channels promoting stolen content.” 

Viewers of YouTube Shorts were also offered advertisements with viral TikTok exercise videos for trending products, such as the pants dubbed "the leggings" on social media. The famous leggings, with a seam across the back to improve even the flattest posterior, were being offered on YouTube Shorts at a markup by scammers expecting the new breed of customers wouldn't notice the padded price, Narang discovered.
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