9 Telegram Scams to Look Out For and How to Avoid Them

Scammers are on nearly every online platform, including Telegram. Knowing these 9 Telegram scams and how to protect yourself can keep you from falling victim to an online scam.
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Telegram is a popular messaging app known for its end-to-end encryption and privacy features. But as the third most downloaded messaging app,[1] it’s also attracted a fair share of scammers and fraudulent schemes.

Through impersonation, phishing, and investment scams, online fraudsters trick users so they can obtain personally identifiable information (PII), take over Telegram accounts, and get users to send them money. In this article, we share what the common Telegram scams are, how to spot them, and how to avoid falling victim to an online scam. We’ll also recommend the best identity theft protection for monitoring your social media accounts.

In this article
9 Telegram scams to watch out for
How to identify a scammer over Telegram
What to do if someone scams you on Telegram
How to boost your cybersecurity on Telegram
Telegram scams FAQs
Bottom line

9 Telegram scams to watch out for

Telegram may seem like a harmless platform to message friends and family across the globe (and that is one of the functions of the platform). But, like any online platform, scammers also use the messaging app to target unsuspecting users.

Investment, tech support, and crypto pump-and-dump scams are all common Telegram scams. Below, we outline nine common scams.

Is WhatsApp safer than Telegram?

Telegram and WhatsApp are both prominent players in the private instant messaging world. Both offer end-to-end encryption, group chats, self-destructing or disappearing messages and other privacy features. You can read more about how these two apps compare in our Telegram vs. WhatsApp comparison.

Fake Telegram channels and groups

Telegram channels and groups are places on the app where like-minded users can gather and message about similar topics.

In this scam, cybercriminals create fake Telegram channels and groups to trick Telegram users. These channels look like legitimate channels, complete with profile pictures, the same pinned messages, and admin names similar to those on the real channel. Before too long, the “admin” will request sensitive information from you or have you click on phishing links.

Investment scams

In this phishing attack, a scammer will reach out with claims that you can make lots of money very quickly, with little or no effort on your part. They often boast about making unrealistic returns by investing in real estate, cryptocurrency, precious metals, or other financial markets.

These scammers may coerce you into buying a fraudulent training program to learn how to invest yourself. Alternatively, they may offer to invest for you and convince you to hand over large sums of money for them to “invest.”

Tech support imposters

Tech support scams can be difficult to spot. Scammers will create fake accounts that mimic legitimate Telegram tech support accounts. Then, scammers pose as Telegram support representatives and ask for sensitive information to help solve a non-existent issue.

They may ask for verification codes or PII to “verify” the account, or they may ask to take over your device. Once your information or device is in their hands, your identity is at risk.

Crypto pump-and-dump scams

Pump-and-dump scams have been around for years, but new commodities and messaging platforms make these scams more accessible than ever. Using a messaging app like Telegram, scammers hype a specific cryptocurrency to fraudulently inflate the asset. They’ll encourage people to buy quickly and claim insider information on a certain commodity or encourage potential investors to “get in on the ground level.”

As more people buy, the price increases and it appears like everyone may profit. However, the fraudsters quickly liquidate their positions, and when the investment drops, so does the price of the asset.

Fake job opportunities

These job scams usually involve the scammer acting as a recruiter or employment specialist. Through an unsolicited message, they present a lucrative job opportunity, usually with appealing conditions like high salaries and flexible working hours. But instead of employees, they’re really after your personal information so they can steal your identity.

Friend in need scams

In this scam, someone sends an urgent message claiming to be someone else. They may pretend to be a close friend or family member in desperate need.

They message you from an unknown number and concoct some excuse — like phone problems or a lost phone — and claim they need money immediately. Then, they’ll urge you to wire money or buy gift cards and share the gift card information with them. Once the scammers have the funds, they vanish.

It’s important to note it’s nearly impossible to retrieve money sent by wire or gift card. If a family member or loved one is messaging you from a different number, you should hang up and try to contact them directly and verify their identity.

Telegram admin imposters

The good news is that Telegram usernames are unique, which makes it impossible for scammers to create duplicate accounts. The bad news is that scammers are becoming increasingly adept at creating usernames that closely resemble other accounts, especially Telegram admin accounts.

For example, Telegram admin may use the username “TechSupport” and a scammer may adopt the username “TechsSupport.” Similar to tactics employed in a tech support scam, the scammer may respond to one of your questions posted in a public forum on the app.

It may appear as though they’re a legitimate Telegram admin, but they’re really looking to take over your account, steal your personal information, or lure you to a dangerous phishing site.

Romance scams

Many people find love on the internet and dating apps, but unfortunately, many cybercriminals use romance scams to get your money or personal information.

Romance scammers take time to build a relationship with you. When they establish your trust, they make up scenarios, like emergency surgery or needing a plane ticket to meet in person, and request money to pay for it. You send the money, and when you do, they vanish.

Telegram bot scams

Telegram allows you to create or use bots to automate tasks. Bot scams can be hard to detect, as the bots use artificial intelligence and natural language processing to convince you that the messages are real.

Hackers use bots to call and impersonate a legitimate business like a bank or mobile carrier, and then they request personal or login information. Telegram bots can even intercept one-time passcode tokens or infect your computer with malware. Once the malware is installed on your device, the scammer can access your browsers, including passwords and credit card information.

Messaging scams can occur in-app or online, like through Google Chat. Stay in the know about trending messaging scams across platforms.

How to identify a scammer over Telegram

Identifying the warning signs of a scammer is the first step in protecting yourself online. While the details may differ, many scams have similar characteristics or red flags. Look for the following warning signs to help identify scammers:

  • Beware of any unsolicited message, especially if it contains links.
  • If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
  • Be wary of any message that requires you to pay fees to claim a prize or giveaway.
  • If someone asks you to pay in a specific way, take note. Scammers usually request you pay in ways that are difficult to retrieve, like money wiring or gift cards.
  • Pay attention to grammatical and spelling errors, or slight variances in names or spelling.
  • Scammers prey on a sense of urgency. Any message urging you to “act now” may be a scam.
  • Check the profile’s activity. Scammers may create new accounts often, with limited activity.

Identifying a Telegram scam can help prevent you from falling victim to identity theft.

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What to do if someone scams you on Telegram

If you suspect you’re the victim of a Telegram scam, it’s imperative to act quickly. Block the account and report it to Telegram. If you’ve exchanged personal information or sent money, there are steps you can take to mitigate the damage.

Document evidence

If you need to file a police report or a claim with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), you will need to provide as much information as possible, so take screenshots or record usernames, email addresses, or any conversations with the scammer.

Block the scammer and report suspicious activity to Telegram

Once you’ve collected evidence, it’s time to block the scammer and report your conversations to Telegram. To block a Telegram account, go to the user profile and click on the three dots in the corner of your screen. Select Block User.

Next, report the scammer to Telegram. Send a screenshot of the scam account and your conversation to @notoscam on Telegram, or email abuse@telegram.org.

Contact your bank or financial institution

Make sure to monitor your bank account for signs of fraudulent activity. If you’ve exchanged banking information, freeze your credit with all three bureaus. Remember that to freeze your credit, you must visit or call Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion, respectively.

Update your passwords

After securing your financial information, it’s time to update your passwords and privacy settings. Use a random password generator and a password manager to create strong login credentials for all your online accounts.

Make sure to use unique passwords for each account. Update your privacy settings to control who is seeing your online information.

File a report

File a report with the FTC. If recouping fraudulent charges, some credit companies may require an official FTC report or report with your local police department.

Install antivirus and invest in identity theft protection

Malware can access personal information on your device, so install antivirus protection to protect yourself from malicious software. Continue to monitor your financial accounts or invest in identity theft protection services.

How to boost your cybersecurity on Telegram

Privacy perks on Telegram, like end-to-end encryption and 2FA, make Telegram a good choice if you’re seeking a more private messaging app. Unfortunately, it’s a popular spot for scammers as well. Within the app, there are ways to boost your cybersecurity:

  • Enable 2FA and update privacy settings when you set up your account.
  • Ignore unsolicited messages from unknown numbers.
  • Avoid suspicious-looking links.
  • Be suspicious of offers and giveaway claims.
  • Never share login credentials, PII, or banking information.
  • Be wary of high-pressure tactics or instructions to pay via cryptocurrency, money wiring, or gift cards.
  • Invest in identity theft protection services to monitor your online accounts for fraudulent transactions.

Best identity theft protection for social media

Investing in identity theft protection services is one of the easiest ways to ensure your sensitive information stays in the right hands. Not only can these services alert you of any changes to your financial accounts, but some can even monitor your social media.

From your social media accounts, scammers can hack into your profile, assume your identity, and even con your friends and family. Invest in a protection plan that monitors social media for further security.

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Telegram scams FAQs


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Is it safe to use Telegram?

Like any online platform, Telegram poses certain risks. If you use the messaging app properly, however, using Telegram is safe.

Make sure to practice safe online habits: never disclose personal information, ignore unsolicited messages, and avoid clicking on suspicious links or links from senders you don’t know.


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Can a scammer get verified on Telegram?

The blue-check verification next to an account may lend credibility to accounts, but scammers can still get verified on Telegram. The checkmark simply means the account has been approved by Telegram.


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What are the risks of Telegram bots?

Like most things, generally, interacting with Telegram bots is safe. However, sharing any data online poses a risk. The use of artificial intelligence makes it increasingly difficult to tell if you’re dealing with a bot or with a scammer.

If the bot requests personal information or access to your account, you should proceed cautiously. The risks of Telegram bots are the same risks as interaction with scammers: stolen information or hacked accounts.

Bottom line

As apps and platforms continue to evolve, so will scammers and fraudsters. It’s important to stay vigilant online and protect yourself from Telegram scams. Following the preventive steps discussed in this outline, you can safely use Telegram and avoid falling victim to a Telegram scam.

Still worried about your online safety? Investing in identity theft protection is the best way to prevent identity theft. Read more about the best identity theft protection services to see which is best for your needs.

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Author Details
Courtney Daybell is a professional writer interested in online privacy. With a bachelor's degree in communications from Brigham Young University, she has written for more than 15 years with a strong foundation in print journalism.

Citations

[1] Telegram Statistics & Facts