Social media is being used increasingly to spread cryptocurrency and NFT scams. Thefts occur on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Discord, and Telegram.
As these companies work to tighten their security measures, you must also stay vigilant about scams you may encounter. When it comes to cryptocurrency, the social platforms on which users typically find crypto-related scams are Discord and Telegram.
Can you get scammed through crypto?
Unfortunately, yes, as cryptocurrency scams are incredibly common, as the following statistics show:
- Crypto-based crime hit a new high recently, according to the 2022 Crypto Crime Report. Illegal crypto wallets stole $14 billion – an increase of 80% from 2020. Such a cost can’t be ignored by crypto and social media companies.
- Forbes reports that since 2021, crypto scammers have stolen $1 billion from 46,000 people.
- The FTC said crypto-related crimes account for one in four dollars lost to fraud, more than any other payment method, with individual losses averaging over $2,500.
How do cryptocurrency scams work?
There are a huge number of different ways that scammers try to trick you into handing over your crypto assets. For example:
- Some scammers create fake cryptocurrency trading platforms or wallets to dupe victims into transferring crypto.
- Other scammers impersonate new or established businesses to sell fake cryptocurrency. They will use digital ads, articles, and a well-designed website to convince victims that the company is launching its coin or token.
How to Spot a Cryptocurrency Scam on Discord Servers?
Discord was created for gamers, but its platform has attracted everyone from university study groups to cryptocurrency enthusiasts. On these crypto servers, experienced and novice traders discuss altcoins and share predictions. Scammers, on the other hand, work to profit from these open conversations.
Discord's popularity doesn't mean it's immune to scams and compromises.
Scammers have designed many creative ways to get users to click on malicious links via direct messages to steal their personal information and assets.
These scams don’t just emerge from small, unverified Discord channels. Scammers have found ways to infiltrate large companies to make their scams more likely to succeed. There are two prominent examples:
OpenSea, the primary marketplace for non-fungible tokens (NFTs), reported major Discord problems very recently in May 2022, involving spambots posting phishing links to countless users.
The spam allegedly originates from an automated Carl-Bot that OpenSea was using, a Discord bot used for miscellaneous admin tasks and user support. Typically, such vulnerabilities can emerge when a Discord channel's administrator is phished.
Axie Infinity’s Discord Bot
MEE6, the game's Discord bot, similar to OpenSea’s Carl-Bot, was infiltrated by hackers, who used it to issue fake mint notifications from executives’ accounts.
Protecting Yourself from Discord Scams
On cryptocurrency-focused servers, scammers often target Discord users with private messages claiming to be from an exchange that is giving away cryptocurrency. To avoid this, there are several precautions and steps you can take:
- Stick to investing your time and money in the most popular exchanges as they are least likely to be compromised.
- Make sure you do your homework before opening an account on any exchange or wallet. For example, find out who the people behind the exchange or wallet are and what country the company is registered in.
- If you are directly contacted, don't give in to the pressure of making a deposit or disclosing personal data.
- Avoid using any random wallet you find in the app store at random, and stick to wallets from reputable providers and exchanges.
- Use two-factor authentication (2FA) and a password manager to protect sensitive data.
- Ignore any Discord messages promising freebies in exchange for clicking on links you don't recognise.
Remember, even if you cannot recover your assets after being scammed, it’s important to help other Discord users by informing the company about any scam-related messages you receive.
How to Spot a Cryptocurrency Scam on Telegram Groups?
People interested in cryptocurrency often gather in groups on Telegram to talk about the latest developments and price movements. A large part of the reason scammers and thieves use Telegram is the ease with which they can pose as someone else or an organisation on the platform.
When it comes to crypto scams on the platform, nearly every regular Telegram user has been the victim of at least one scam at some point. Almost all of these crypto scams have one thing in common: they primarily target newcomers to the crypto space.
Everyone who uses Telegram should be aware of the most common scams, including:
Tech Support Scams are Common on Telegram
Scams pretending to be customer service can come in many forms. It's not uncommon for members of the group to be directly messaged by administrators and other members of the group claiming to work for large exchanges and try to charge users thousands of dollars for sorting account security issues.
For the most part, these phishing attempts demand remote control of your computer, something no one from a legitimate support team will ever ask for. Scammers often try to get you to send digital currency to an external address to ensure greater protection of your Coinbase account. Scammers are also known to ask for your login credentials in order to gain complete control of your account.
Sadly, copycat administrators tend to target newbies, who are more susceptible to being duped than regular crypto enthusiasts. The best way to tell if someone is posing as an admin is to copy their username and search the group for posts by that user. If you see nothing, it's more than likely a fake administrator.
Remember: never share your seed phrase or any other personal information in a direct message or any other form of electronic communication.
Fake Telegram Groups
The fake group scam on Telegram is one of the platform's most popular and dangerous scams. Copycat groups closely mimic the originals, but with one important difference: their sole purpose is to defraud you. Members of the original group are often manually added to the scam groups by the scammers, making it difficult to distinguish between the two.
The actual scam can come in many forms. For instance, scammers could offer pre-launch tokens at a reduced price for those who purchase them first.
Luckily, this scam is quite simple to avoid, making it a win-win situation. Changing your group invitation settings to receive invites from only your contacts will eliminate this issue.
What to do if you’ve spotted a scam or become a victim on Telegram
Scam victims who have sent crypto should be aware that their chances of recouping their losses are extremely slim. Such scams are generally difficult to recover, even when standard fiat money is involved.
However, you can still file a report to help prevent this from happening to anyone else. Scams on Telegram can be reported by contacting [email protected]
La inversión en criptoactivos no está regulada, puede no ser adecuada para inversores minoristas y se puede perder la totalidad del monto invertido.