Stolen TikTok videos on YouTube Shorts lead to adult dating sites
Scammers post stolen TikTok videos to pedal adult-dating sites and promote fishy products.
YouTube Shorts, Google's answer to TikTok, attracted troves of scammers trying to reuse stolen content for nefarious purposes.
According to Satnam Narang, a researcher at Tenable, Youtube Shorts channels posting stolen content received over 3.2 billion views across close to 40,000 videos.
Most of the stolen content comes from TikTok, a vastly popular social network owned by a Chinese internet technology company ByteDance.
"[…] scammers are finding staggering success, […], by stealing existing short-form videos from TikTok and reposting them to YouTube Shorts, racking up millions of views and gaining tens of thousands of subscribers," Narang writes.
Scammers use stolen content to profit from adult dating affiliate scams, promote dubious retail products, or simply increase channel views and subscriber count.
Fraudsters steal TikTok videos and pin a link leading to an adult dating site as the first comment. The advertisements are a part of the affiliate marketing strategy adult-dating sites employ to generate leads.
Scammers, however, abuse affiliate offers in hopes of earning profit by tricking users.
"All a scammer needs to do is convince users to visit these adult dating websites and sign up with an email address, whether it's legitimate or not," Narang claims.
Another reason scammers are interested in TikTok videos is to peddle questionable retail items. In one instance, scammers used stolen TikTok videos of women at the gym to promote leggings.
The items are sold on a Shopify store employing the dropshipping technique, whereby the scammers operate as a middle person, as their products originate from websites like AliExpress.
The report's author found that some items are sold for twice as much as their original price. However, the key concern is that scammers cannot guarantee whether purchased items will reach buyers.
Similar tactics are employed to sell dubious weight loss products.
Meanwhile, others steal TikTok videos to obtain social currency in the form of views and subscriber count. Since Youtube provides creators with avenues to earn money through advertisement, deals are often linked to subscriber counts.
"Creators are using stolen TikTok videos, the same types of videos used to promote adult dating websites, to drive up their views and subscriber counts," Narang writes.
After analyzing 50 YouTube channels, the report's author determined that stolen content has received 3.2 billion views across 38,293 videos and generated over 3 million subscribers.
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