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Telegram is one of the most popular messaging apps in the world right now with over 550 million users. But its popularity coupled with features like support for large groups, secret conversations, auto-delete messages, and advanced encryption has also made Telegram a playground for scammers and bad actors.
In this article, we discuss:
Telegram is a cross-platform messaging app that is popular among people due to its advanced privacy and encryption features. Unlike WhatsApp which is owned by Facebook now, Telegram doesn’t have any direct connection to big social media giants which makes the messaging service even more appealing to many.
Available on multiple platforms including Android, iOS, Mac, Windows, and Linux, it can also be accessed through a web browser
Founded by a Russian entrepreneur Pavel Durov, Telegram is free to use for anyone. Its support for over 58 languages has made Telegram a preferred way to communicate for people across many countries.
While Telegram does take prompt steps to shut down scams and frauds, it cannot always proactively remove scammers from the platform unless they are reported because of the sheer number of users on the platform.
Telegram scams are fraud schemes that either take place on the Telegram app itself or focus on getting users off the app and into a suspicious third-party website, possibly impersonating a business.
Scammers flock to the platform because of its wide user base and also because the app is free to use. All you need to create a new account on Telegram is a mobile number and there is no other verification done.
The scams on Telegram can range from traditional phishing attacks to sophisticated frauds where bad actors impersonate businesses or genuine customer support agents.
Some of the common scams on Telegram can include:
Telegram’s ability to support large groups and channels is the reason why most people sign up on the app. But many scammers have been taking advantage of this feature to create fake accounts/copycat channels and trick users into a false sense of security.
These fake channels often look exactly the same as the original ones as the scammers copy everything including admin usernames, pinned messages, and media. You may even see a lot of activity in the channel from other users.
But these fake channels aim to make you click on suspicious links or give up your personal information willingly to hack into your account, gain access to your banking information, or steal your personal data for identity theft.
Telegram has become a famous messaging platform for cryptocurrency and blockchain enthusiasts, which also motivated scammers to move their operations to the app.
Crypto scams on Telegram involve scammers posing as crypto experts and guaranteeing a return on cryptocurrency investments. These scammers can reach you directly on Telegram or invite you to join their crypto channel by finding you in other popular crypto-based Telegram channels.
They take their time to establish their authority on the subject and build trust before they lure you in with their fake crypto investment schemes.
Scammers on Telegram may also offer free prizes, giveaways, and sweepstakes for different cryptocurrencies. But to receive these free prizes or gifts, users are asked to provide their personal data, banking information, or pay up a ‘small fee.’
Telegram allows businesses to use its bots feature in order to engage in conversations with end users. Telegram bots use AI and natural language processing to initiate conversations which can make it all the more harder for users to identify when they are being scammed.
Scammers use Telegram bots to pose as representatives of banks and other big companies to trick users. There have also been instances where scammers have created bots impersonating tech support or customer support of companies.
The bots then convince users into giving up their personal or banking information or login details in the guise of helping them.
Scammers can also use Telegram channels to sell counterfeits of products. While some scammers explicitly let the customers know what they are getting into, others impersonate brands and sell counterfeit products by claiming they are in fact original. But both of these scenarios can be equally detrimental to a business’s reputation.
Telegram has an official bot channel called No To Scam which you can use to report any kind of scams discovered on the platform. Here’s how you can go about it:
1- Open the Telegram app. Note that you need to have a Telegram account in order to report any account or channel. Telegram’s website does have a form on its support page, but it is for any and every kind of issue. Reporting a channel or user there for conducting fraud on the app may lead to your message getting lost.
2- Once you are logged into your account, go to the chat section and search for ‘@notoscam’ bot. The name of the bot is Antiscam and it has a verified tick on it as well. You can also use this direct link to access the channel.
3- Start typing on the chat window by tagging the scammer account or channel and then explaining the reason behind the report.
You can also directly report an account or channel by clicking on the three dots on the user profile screen and selecting Report. Choose the reason behind the report and select submit.
Any kind of business impersonation can be detrimental for your brand reputation and revenue as well. When customers lose trust in your brand, it can be very difficult to gain that trust back.
As a result, it’s important to constantly monitor Telegram to make sure scammers are not trying to ride on your brand’s success.
Red Points can help you detect and monitor fake accounts on social media platforms and shut them down effectively before they can cause any kind of permanent damage to your brand.