• By The Financial District


Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak is launching a legal attack against Google’s YouTube video site for allowing con artists to use him as a pawn in a Bitcoin scam believed to have heisted millions of dollars from people around the world, Michael Liedtke reported for the Associated Press (AP) on July 24, 2020.

The personal computer pioneer vented his frustration and anger in a video conference held Thursday to explain why he decided to sue one of the world’s biggest internet companies in a California state court earlier this week. The suit also represents 17 alleged victims of the bitcoin scam, including 10 people who live outside the US.

The 47-page complaint revolves around a ruse that has used images of Wozniak and high-tech celebrities such as Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates and Tesla CEO Elon Musk to trick people out of the digital currency Bitcoin. Videos spread on YouTube as part of the scheme entice viewers to send their bitcoins to an anonymous digital address, promising to return double that amount. The return payment never arrives.

It’s similar to a scam that surfaced on Twitter last week when hackers hijacked the accounts of more than 100 prominent people, including Gates, Musk, former President Barack Obama and Joe Biden, this year’s Democratic Party nominee for president. Twitter was able to regain control of the hacked accounts and purge the scam from its messaging service within a few hours. Wozniak, though, said he has been trying to get Google and YouTube to prevent videos peddling the scam with his name and picture in it since May 10. But the site can’t seem to stop the blatant ruse from repeatedly reappearing on the site after a bogus clip is removed, he said.