Telegram is one of the most popular messenger services on the market. Telegram is increasingly used in the crypto scene in particular. The reason for this is the simplified creation of user accounts, message channels and chat groups. This allows developers and community managers of crypto projects to get in touch with their target group in an uncomplicated way. For this reason, Telegram has recently replaced other services such as WhatsApp and, along with Discord, is the most popular communication channel when it comes to cryptocurrencies.
Table of contents
This fact ensures that Telegram is especially popular among scammers because they can be sure to come across victims who have cryptocurrencies. Moreover, they can better hide behind the quickly and easily created accounts and do not have to fear revealing their identity immediately.
In the following, we would like to highlight what pitfalls lurk when using Telegram, how to protect yourself from scammers on Telegram and what you can do if you have fallen for a scam.
Versatile scams in use
Because Telegram is used by almost all crypto communities, scammers can resort to various scams to deceive their victims. Some of these methods are not necessarily exclusive to the cryptocurrency environment, but are also used elsewhere. Here is a brief overview of the most common scams:
- Love Scam: In a Love Scam or Roman Scam, a romantic relationship is initiated via Messenger. The sole purpose of this relationship between the perpetrator and the victim is to obtain money or cryptocurrencies. You can read more about how the perpetrators proceed in the article about Romance Scam.
- Trading groups: such a group is usually a message channel that only allows you to read, but not to chat with other members. The perpetrators give so-called trading signals here. In this way, they want to give their victims a supposed advantage on the market by letting them profit from market analyses. The so-called signals are supposed to immediately indicate to the members of these channels when they should buy or sell. Mostly, the perpetrators buy illiquid crypto assets and then try to persuade the channel members to buy. Due to low liquidity, this can already manipulate the price upwards if enough members in the group buy at the same time.
- Fake wallets: in this method, the perpetrators pretend that a Telegram channel is a full-fledged Bitcoin wallet. Alternatively, they may be wallets of another cryptocurrency. In fact, however, these are only cleverly designed Telegram bots that merely pretend to be a wallet. If amounts are transferred to such a wallet, the perpetrators swipe the cryptocurrencies as loot.
- Fake support staff: Investors and interested parties often seek help with technical problems in Telegram groups. Due to the fact that the requests are public, scammers can read them. They use this information and write to the victims personally rather than via the group chat. They then pose as support staff and offer their help to solve the problem. Often, a third-party software is supposed to be installed for this purpose, such as AnyDesk or TeamViewer. This is used to gain access to the victim's computer to steal cryptocurrencies or other sensitive information.
- Investment advice: due to the fact that most users gather on Telegram to keep up to date with crypto projects, it is easy for scammers to start conversations with their victims about investment opportunities. As far as any offers, platforms or ICOS are recommended by strangers, one should exercise utmost caution. After all, such an opportunity can be a trap and you will never see your money again.
Of course, there are also other scam methods and combinations of the cases mentioned above are also possible. For example, supposed support employees pretend that a refund is only possible via a fake Telegram wallet, which is to be paid into beforehand.
How can I protect myself from scams on Telegram?
The best protection is a healthy skepticism against unsolicited contact by strangers. For this purpose, you can define in the Telegram settings who is allowed to contact you. If you want to remain reachable for unknown people, you should always break off contact if the topic of money or investments comes up.
If you need help or have a problem with a user account on a certain platform, it is advisable not to contact the support via Telegram. Instead, you should look for appropriate contact options on the operator's website. Most exchanges or other service providers offer their support via common platforms like Zendesk or via email. However, if one still has to rely on asking for help via a public Telegram channel, one should make sure to only engage in conversation with administrators of the respective channel. Contact requests from group members who do not have administrative rights should better be blocked.
In the case of trading groups, it is recommended to make sure that the delivered signals do not concern illiquid assets. Whether one can expect adequate market analyses remains to be seen. In any case, signals on cryptos with high market capitalization such as Bitcoin or Ethereum are at least not exposed to the risk of serving market manipulation. After all, no one here can hope to artificially shift the price in one direction or another through the behavior of the group members.
What can you do if you have been scammed?
If you are a victim of fraud via Telegram, it is recommended to take legal action in the first place. Since fraud is a criminal offense, you should always contact the police and file a complaint. Crypto-Tracing supports the documentation and preservation of evidence in close cooperation with a lawyer.
Basically, it is recommended to act as soon as possible in order not to give the perpetrators a head start. Be sure to break off contact with the perpetrators to avoid further losses or identity theft. In any case, in order not to lose important information, you should save and backup Telegram chat logs. They may contain valuable information that is pertinent to catching the scammers.
You are welcome to describe your case to us without obligation via our contact form and we will provide you with an initial assessment regarding the best measures to take and the chances of success.
FAQ about Telegram scam
What types of fraud are there on Telegram?
There are many different types of fraud on Telegram and not all of them involve cryptocurrencies. For example, they can be fraudulent investment schemes, fake sales of products or services, phishing attacks, or even identity theft.
Can you report suspicious messages or users on Telegram?
Yes, on Telegram you can report suspicious messages or users by opening the profile in question, clicking on the three dots in the upper right corner and selecting the "Report" option. After that, follow the instructions and provide all the relevant information to report the scam or abusive behavior.
How can you protect your personal information on Telegram?
To protect personal or sensitive information on Telegram, you should be very careful with whom you share it. Sharing sensitive information such as passwords, banking information, or copies of IDs should be avoided at all costs. Be sure to exercise extra caution when clicking on suspicious links or downloading files from unknown sources.
Is there a reliable way to detect scammers on Telegram?
No, there is no absolute protection or way to reliably identify profiles of scammers on Telegram. Scammers mostly use sophisticated tactics to present an authentic image to their victims. However, there are some indicators which can show a scam. Among them are unrealistic promises and pictures or information that belong to another person. In any case, you should be alert when strangers bring up the subject of money.
Are there any official agencies or organizations that deal with fraud on Telegram?
There are various authorities and organizations that deal with fraud on the Internet. Depending on the location, these can be police, consumer protection organizations or other authorities. In Germany, the Federal Office for Information Security (BSI) would be worth mentioning here. However, because fraud on Telegram also frequently affects investment products, the Federal Financial Supervisory Authority (BaFin) is also sometimes a contact.