No doubt, Telegram is the go-to app for cryptocurrency discussions.
Many crypto platforms have large communities and host their meetings on the app.
Nevertheless, with close to 550 million monthly active users, Telegram has also become a host for crypto scams.
According to a report by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), $575m have been lost to crypto scams on Telegram and Meta social media apps.
In this post, I shared 5 ways to spot a crypto scam on Telegram.
If you don’t want to fall victim then read to the end.
How To Spot A Crypto Scam On Telegram
A crypto scam may take different forms including
- Fake Telegram Groups
- The Copycat Admin
- Pump and Dump Crypto Scam
- Phishing with Telegram Bots
- Cryptocurrency Giveaways or Airdrops
Let’s take them one after the other.
Fake Telegram Groups
This is the most common form of crypto scam on Telegram.
The scammers mimic legit crypto platforms to steal from unsuspecting users.
Interestingly, the group may contain similar pinned messages and admin names to the original group.
However, if you watch closely, you will also find a feature that will reflect a scam attempt.
Usually, the perpetrators of the scam will manually invite members from the original group into the scam groups, making it difficult to tell the difference.
For example, I came across a Binance P2P exchange group on Telegram.
While it had the Binance logo and thousands of members, I also noticed the admins were the escrow for payment.
Besides, why would I want to trade crypto on a telegram group while the Binance P2P service is easy to use and attracts zero costs?
Did I mention that there were two groups like that? Plus, I didn’t know how I joined the groups.
[Suggested Read: Binance P2P 2022 Ultimate Mobile Guide For Beginners]
How to avoid a fake Telegram group crypto scam
It’s quite simple. Just change your group invite settings to “My contacts” only.
That way, you’ll not be added to fake groups randomly.
Additionally, only follow links from official sources and cross-reference them against other sources.
The Copycat Admin
Here’s another form that a crypto scam on Telegram would take.
Scammers pose as the admin of a group and try to defraud members.
They often target new members and those that ask questions in the public group.
Then, they’d send a Dm, posing as admin or support staff of the group to help the individual but in the end, they’d tactically obtain relevant details to steal his funds.
They ask for private information such as private keys or seed phrases, or they will send the target to a platform designed to phish this info.
My friend experienced this some time ago, the scammer even put a call across to her to get her details and help her solve the problem she complained about in the general group.
Unfortunately, these scammers have identical profiles to the genuine admins in the group.
But something must give them away, especially their usernames.
The username will look like the original but it is not, for example, @ctmastcry instead of @ctmastery
How to avoid the copycat admin crypto scam
If you’re contacted by a supposed admin, copy his username and search the public group for posts from this user.
It’s a copycat admin if nothing appears. On the other hand, if any message appears, confirm that there is an admin tag next to his name before you give him an audience.
Even if it looks like a real admin, don’t give up your private key, seed phrase, or other personal information to anyone.
Pump and Dump Crypto Scam
Pump and dump is a popular crypto scam, where a set of individuals buy a large amount of a coin at low prices, and hype the coin before a larger number of people, instigating them to buy.
Thus, pumping the value of their holdings.
Eventually, they dump their holdings into the market, making massive profits but at the same time, crashing the value of the coin, and causing new buyers lots of losses.
On Telegram, these scammers come off as owners or administrators of Telegram channels.
They coordinate price manipulation on a cryptocurrency exchange to provide insider insights.
Thus, giving traders the impression that they have access to crypto assets before a large positive price improvement.
In the real sense, they extract money from the community, since the group owners will buy up large amounts of the asset before announcing it to the group.
When the community drives up the price of the coin, it pumps the holdings of the group admins.
Sometimes, they charge a fee for a VIP membership for better privileges, but it is just a scheme to steal more from the community.
Immediately the price of the coin reaches a given point, they’ll then exit their now weighty positions, crashing the market and leaving those that bought the coin after them at a loss.
How to avoid pump and dump crypto scam
Firstly, be wary of “signals groups” that offer market insights into cryptocurrencies that are about to move.
Do due diligence before you join such groups – do they have a history of correct predictions? Or are they responsible for the pumps they advertise?
Additionally, you want to slow down if you sense persistent urgency in their messages.
Don’t let FOMO cost you funds. ✌️
Phishing with Telegram Bots
Telegram is famous for its ability to create and use bots at a fair price ($30/month or less depending on the chosen plan).
These bots are able to engage in realistic conversations, making it hard to identify a scam.
Most crypto exchanges that have large communities may use bots to manage their members.
Scammers leverage this knowledge to create similar bots to lure users into giving up personal details.
Especially when the exchange in question is running a promotion.
Scammers create bot Telegram channels to push the same advert but their target is to get the personal details of the participants and steal from them.
For example, after the private sale of the Everdome token, scammers took advantage of its popularity at the time to create bot channels for the coin.
The idea was to get people to send BNB to a particular Pancakeswap pool to receive the token.
Meanwhile, the coin was yet to be listed on any exchange.
How to avoid Telegram bots crypto scam
This type of scam usually comes with a false sense of urgency and demand for private information.
Do well check the authentic sources before subscribing to any promotional message.
Also, never give away your private details to any bot.
Crypto platforms use bots mainly to improve members’ communication and monitor referrals, not for the collection of private information.
Cryptocurrency Giveaways or Airdrops
Lastly, you should also take note of crypto scams on Telegram that comes in the form of giveaways.
I have seen many, where the admin is promising users free coins for participation.
Only that the coins are not exactly free. You first send them some coins and receive new ones or receive double what you sent to them.
Sadly, crypto giveaway scams are widespread on Telegram.
Once the scammers get what they want, they disappear and your reward never materializes.
How to avoid Cryptocurrency giveaways or airdrop scams
If the airdrop is legit, you will not have to pay for it.
Also, you may be required to complete simple tasks like following the organizers on their social media platforms.
Please read this article to learn more about crypto airdrop scams – How To Know Legit Crypto Airdrops (9 Pro Tips!)
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We have now come to the end of this article and I hope it was worth your time.
While you’re having a good time in crypto communities on Telegram, be careful not to give your funds to scammers.
Tell me in the comments, have you ever been a victim of a Telegram crypto scam? And how did you come out of it?
Perhaps, you know about other Telegram crypto scams that I didn’t mention. Tell me about them in the comments too.
Please share this post with your friends before you go. Thank you!