419 scam: pay $180, receive $5,000 a week

“YouTube Account Manager has sent you a Message…”

We’ve seen some complaints of a message sent to YouTube users via the YouTube messaging system, warning of account suspension:

YouTube account manager has sent you a message

We’d like to inform you that due to repeated or severe violations of our community guidelines and your YouTube account will be suspended 3 days from the time of this message. After careful review we determined that activity in your account violated our community guidelines, which prohibit spam, scams or commercially deceptive content. Please be aware that you are prohibited from accessing, possessing or creating any other YouTube accounts.

Please follow the following instructions to recover your account:

1. Please contact your account manager here: [url] 2. You have to complete a quick survey to make sure you are human. 3. Wait for our email explaining the next steps.

* If you decide to ignore this message and not follow the above steps your account will be suspended.

You can see examples of this on posts made by puzzled YouTubers over on Instagram [1], [2], Yahoo [1] and a few more people complaining about it in Google Groups.

This is what you would see after hitting the supplied link in the message:

Account Management.

“Complete a survey to verify your account”

This one is a survey scam, and whoever is sending these messages is looking to make a little cash along with the panic they’re no doubt whipping up in YouTube users right about now.

The links displayed on the left hand side are regional and will take clickers to various offers / surveys / signups and downloads.

If you’re in any doubt as to the status of your YouTube account, you’d be better served contacting them directly than being tricked by these false messages currently in circulation. Scammers will often use similar tactics to send phishing links and malware, so in some ways recipients of this missive are getting the best of a bad deal – it’s “only” surveys and forms to fill in, along with the occasional download.

However, that doesn’t mean we should rush to jump through their survey sign-up hoops either.

Steer clear of this one, and keep on making those videos.

Christopher Boyd


Christopher Boyd

Former Director of Research at FaceTime Security Labs. He has a very particular set of skills. Skills that make him a nightmare for threats like you.