Monday, September 5, 2016

Fake Youtubers

Dear friends and especially game developers:

Recently, thanks to webs like G2A, the will to obtain SteamKeys from developers to sell them later is spreading like wildfire. One of them is the "Fake Youtuber":

These are the two types of  "Fake Youtubers" I found so far:


The modus operandi is the following:

You receive an email from a Youtuber asking for Steam keys to play your game and you find out that he has a loooot of followers!! Maybe hundreds of thousands, or million and half. So your eyes shines, you have a heartattack, you recover from it, and you provide him with all the keys he's asking for: Shut up and take my Steamkeys!!! Normally it's one for him to play and a bunch of them for a giveaway in his channel.

Of course who is writing you is not the successful Youtuber, but someone who is pretending to be him.
To check it out, you just have to check the e-mail in the Youtube channel ("more information" tab, then press "See email address" button), and the email you received.

And you may find out that:

1.- Emails don't match. Obviously he is a cheater.

2.- The Youtuber's email is not published (and there is no "see email" button). This is perfect for the fake Youtuber as you can't easily check if the email is legitime. In this case, unless your game is a top seller one, best not to give keys.

3.- Email adresses match... or nearly. Some pretenders use similar e-mail names, by just changing a single letter to make it look the same. You have to check letter by letter.


The modus operandi is the following:

You receive an e-mail froma Youtuber asking for a Steam Key to play your game and upload reviews (which is helpful to make your game a bit more known around the community).
First step is to verify the channel. You find out that the channel has around 1500 followers, a big bunch of videos uploaded of wellknown games, and the email in the channel matches perfectly the email you received.
Since here everything looks ok, and the linnet developer (me the first one) sends him a key... but it is not! It's in truth a "Fake Youtuber", someone who created a valid Youtube account and uploaded stolen videos from other Youtubers. Besides, there must be a way to obtain 1500 followers (No certain idea how it is done, but there could be a web that provides fake followers).

How to unmask them?
Evidence 1.- As videos are stolen, they can't have introductions like "Hello I'm Youtubman, and today I'm going to play Ghost 1.0", because videos are not theirs. Normally gameplays use to include no spoken comments on it (so the developer can't figure out that someone else is speaking).

Evidence 2.- As followers are fake, they can't write comments in videos. And therefore videos have no written comments from people.

So, as a security recomendation, before giving keys, have a chek their videos and their comments.


Luckily these people are not a threat to the economy of the developer, as they're normally just a few cases. However the feeling of being cheated is not nice, so it's ok to be careful when receiving emails from youtubers asking for keys.

1 comment:

  1. When checking e-mail addresses (or Twitter usernames, or whatever), copy-paste the names into Notepad and make sure it's set to a system font. That way, you won't fall for a name that uses a '1' in place of an 'l'.