Tech Support Scams Falls to Scam
Tech Support Scams, host and creator of the YouTube channel, Jim Browning, fell prey to a tech support fraud that convinced him to secure his account — by deleting it – in a blaze of irony.
“I was encouraged to deactivate my YouTube channel because I was sure I was talking [to YouTube] support,” Browning said on Twitter after the incident, “to prove that anyone can be scammed.” The sly s**t managed to get me to deactivate the channel despite the fact that I never lost control of it. I’m hoping to be better soon.”
The hoax had to be believable to convince Browning: “I track down those who defraud others on the Internet,” he writes on his Patreon page. “This is frequently the case with ‘tech support’ phone calls or pop-ups. I explain what I do by teaching others how to spot a scam and, more crucially, how to track down scammers and expose them.”
Browning has made a name for himself by creating “scambaiting” videos in which he sets up honeypot systems and pretends to fall for scams in which ostensibly support staffers need remote access to fix a problem or remove a virus when in reality they are scouring the hard drive for sensitive files or planting malware.
How soon will Account Recover?
“I’m hoping YouTube Support can resolve the matter by July 29th, and I can reclaim the channel,” Browning wrote in a Patreon update, “but they haven’t promised anything yet.” I simply hope it can be fixed.”
Whether or not Browning is able to reclaim the account and the 3.28 million subscribers he amassed over his career as a scam-baiter, he hopes to learn from his tragedy. “I’m going to make a movie of how it all went down,” he promised, “but suffice to say, it was pretty convincing until the very end.”
Scams involving technical support have existed for as long as people have required it, but according to a Microsoft analysis released last month, the volume may be decreasing. The 18-37 age group was found to be the most vulnerable, with 10% of those polled losing money to a scammer.
YouTube was contacted for an explanation of how deleted accounts could be restored, as well as what safeguards it has in place to prevent its users – even those with extensive experience in the field of con-artistry – from falling victim to tech support scams, but was unable to respond in time for publication.