Last fall I wrote about and made a short video about a phishing scam in which the sender pretends to be from YouTube support. Yesterday, I saw a new variation on that same scam appear in my inbox.
As you can see in the screenshot above, the email subject line is Copyright Warning.pdf and the from address is YouTube Support (Google Docs). In the email there is just a link to a PDF that appears to be shared via Google Drive from YouTube. There are a few red flags in that email that instantly told me this was a scam. Here they are:
1. The email that this was sent to is not the email address that is connected to my YouTube account. In other words, it’s not the one I use to log into and upload to my YouTube channel.
2. In my actual YouTube account there were not any warnings in the copyright section.
3. YouTube/ Google doesn’t send PDFs via Google Drive to notify you of problems with your YouTube account or any other Google product.
The difference between the scam email I received yesterday and the one that I got last fall is that yesterday’s didn’t use a generic Gmail address as the “from” address. Instead, it was changed to make it look like it came from a “no reply google docs” address.
If you’re interested in a video walk-through of this scam, watch my short video below.
Applications for Education
I like to take scam email attempts like this one and use them as the basis for short lessons about cybersecurity. Emails the like the one I got today have some tell-tale signs of a scam that are fairly easy to spot. See if your students can spot them.
Some similar scams that I’ve unraveled in the last couple of years include this one about image attribution and this one also about image attribution from someone pretending to be a lawyer.