Video fan or scammer? Survey spam on YouTube

Graham Cluley
Graham Cluley
@[email protected]

YouTube shoot-out
One of the themes that has been coming through loud and clear in the security world for the last few months has been the use by scammers of revenue-generating surveys.

I’ve reported about many of these on the Clu-blog, mostly impacting Facebook users, where unsuspecting computer owners click on a link shared with them via the social networking site only to discover that they have to complete a survey before seeing some typically salacious content. The scammers, meanwhile, earn their crust by receiving a small commission for each survey that is completed.

These survey scams, however, are not just limited to Facebook.

Here’s a message I received via the SophosLabs YouTube channel, for instance:

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YouTube survey spam

At first glance you may feel flattered that someone has praised the videos you have been making, but in fact the point of the email is to take you to a third-party website.

And, sure enough, if you click on the link a revenue-generating survey will pop up claiming you could win a free new Apple iPad or a year’s free shopping at Sainsbury’s:

Survey linked to from YouTube spam

It doesn’t matter if you receive a message via Facebook, YouTube or traditional email – you should always be suspicious of unsolicited communications and think before you click.

Graham Cluley is an award-winning keynote speaker who has given presentations around the world about cybersecurity, hackers, and online privacy. A veteran of the computer security industry since the early 1990s, he wrote the first ever version of Dr Solomon's Anti-Virus Toolkit for Windows, makes regular media appearances, and is the co-host of the popular "Smashing Security" podcast. Follow him on Twitter, Mastodon, Threads, Bluesky, or drop him an email.

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