An internet community called the Digital Citizens Alliance has accused YouTube of failing to block videos selling stolen credit card details.
In a report, the group said it was stunned when its researchers found a video selling stolen credit cards, social security numbers, and bank logins running alongside an advert for Target.
It said: "At a time when the company is spending billions to regain trust, how does something like this undermine Target’s investment?
"This problem will continue – no matter how much retailers invest in security – as long as criminals can find a place they can easily sell their stolen credit cards."
The report said that researchers found 15,900 results for the search term "how to get credit card numbers that work 2014" and researchers were offered stolen credit card details for as little as $4.
The group criticised YouTube’s parent compant, Google, for profiting from the legitimate adverts running alongside the videos, saying:
"When someone stumbles onto videos marketing stolen credit cards, as well as other stolen and illegal items displayed on YouTube, the site’s parent company, Google, makes money."
At one point, an undercover researcher managed to get a vendor on the phone, where he explained which details they would need for different types of fraud, which sites they should target for shopping with fraudulent card details, how much he charged per card and the discounts he could offer on high volumes of cards.
The report compared YouTube to the notorious ‘darknet’ site Silk Road, inviting readers to try and tell the difference between two conversations with vendors of stolen credit card details – one on Silk Road and one on YouTube.
Silk Road was an online marketplace founded and operated by a user known only as "Dread Pirate Roberts"; the site was first launched in 2011 and products sold included stolen credit card details, drugs and hacking kits.
The site was shut down by the FBI in October 2013 and the man who allegedly founded it, Ross William Ulbricht, was arrested.
However, Silk Road was subsequently re-launched by other users.
Digital Citizens Alliance warned that the videos will also re-emerge if Google cracks down in the short term without stepping up efforts to keep crooks off YouTube in the long term.