CEX.IO News Education

Do Not Become a Victim of Scams in Telegram Crypto Communities

, September 26, 2019

💪🏻This guide explains the rules that will help you to avoid becoming a victim of scams, prolific in crypto communities on Telegram. 

💪🏻Use these simple principles to be invincible to fraudsters’ attacks! They will not touch your money with their dirty methods. 

💪🏻Dodge the scammer bullet better than Neo in The Matrix, while keeping Yoda’s wisdom about it. 

💪🏻Use it not only for the CEX.IO Telegram community, but also to navigate the murky waters of all crypto communities out there.

💪🏻Best of all,  you do not need an advanced degree in cybersecurity from MIT to apply these rules like a pro!

Fundamental Rules To NOT Get Scammed on Telegram:

Rule 1: 

If someone writes you from a Telegram profile marked as a SCAM – it is a scam. Spare yourself some valuable time and do not double-check the validity. It is a scam. 

For the context, Telegram has a place to report potential scammers: @notoscam. You can send the screenshots of a conversation, username handles, or forward suspicious messages there.

When enough people report, Telegram investigates and eventually adds “SCAM” on that account to warn the users of the messenger. Your anti-scam investigation finishes here – Telegram did that for you.  🙌

Rule 2:

If someone with a picture and the name of the admin of our chat writes you a private message offering help – it is a SCAM. The real admins of CEX.IO chat will not write you first. They will not write to you a direct message if you report an issue on the channel. They will not write to you when you ask them to message you privately. 

So, if you see a “How may I help you user” in your DMs, it’s a scammer sliding in. Kick him! 

Rule 3: 

If someone reaches you in Telegram saying they represent a support team, support channel, marketing team, or company management – it is a SCAM. No support is provided via Telegram. 

No steps of issue resolution take place in Telegram either! It means, no instructions to resolve your issue will be sent to you in Telegram direct messages. Do not send any info about you or your account in response to private messages in Telegram!

Here are some fakes we’ve seen (and there are more!) 

Key Principles to Use when in Doubt:

Now that you know the fundamentals, let’s move further! Investigative mind that you are, you need more certainty🕵🏽‍♂️. Not to mention, whoever wrote to you insists that he/she is indeed a member of the support team on a white horse. Sorry to disappoint, it’s still a stinky scammer. 🤢So every time you feel like exclaiming “No but …” justifying your trust in a stranger on Telegram, come back to these three No-but Principles:

No-but Principle 1: But it says “OFFICIAL” 😱

Whoever writes you in a direct message has “Official” somewhere in the profile. Do not get enticed! Telegram gives users a lot of freedom to create accounts with any names on. Anyone can use whatever name they wish, from “Madonna Official” to “Official Darth Vader”.  

In fact, next time someone “Official” writes to you, tell them that you are an Official Knighted Scammer Warrior. And tell them to run. 

No-but Principle 2: But YOU wrote to me, admin! 😱

So the person on the other side tries hard to convince you that he/she is a real chat admin. Yea, they do not write to anyone, but you are an exception and this is urgent (blah blah blah all that stuff). 

Wanting to feel like an exception (not to mention that the admins of the chat are kind of hot 😉), you secretly entertain a thought that maybe they really did come to help…

Now, take a close look at the username (so-called Telegram handle in a profile) of a person you communicate with. Important: username is different than a bio or the name on the profile!

A username can only be taken ONCE by one user. If someone already took it, another user cannot create an account with the same username.

A bio is something Telegram users would write about themselves (to impress others or to have a nice opener for a conversation). This can be anything – more on that later!

A name is often confused with a username (name 🤷🏽‍♀️ username). It is a name that someone chooses to display on the profile. This can be anything, and anyone can choose a profile name identical to that of an admin of a chat (but that we already went through – remember OFFICIAL?). 

The scientifically designed (😅) classification of scammer usernames below will help you investigate who’s real admin and who is not: 

👹 Beginner level scammer: 

Modifies the username of a real admin ever so slightly, by changing the order of a couple of letters to make it almost unnoticeable to other members of a chat. Notice that the NAME on the profile is exactly the name of an admin (because a scammer can choose any name).

👹👹 Intermediate level scammer:

Takes a common letter “l” (as on Leo) and changes it to capital “i” (as in Ice cream). It works vice versa too – swapping I (capital “i”) for lowercase l (as in love). The resulting usernames look identical! A quick way to reveal this trick is to 1) copy a username that contains those letters; 2) paste it in any text editor that lets you format text; 3) make all letters UPPERCASE and see how different a user name looks now! 

RambIinlrishRover –> RAMBIINLRISHROVER… Double strike! So easy!

👹👹👹 Advanced level scammer: 

Does not use a username at all AND uses the username of a real admin in the bio. Remember, a bio can be anything, even a username of your dear admin. With username copied in the bio, profiles of the authentic admin and a scammer look nearly identical, with the exception that one says “bio” and another “username”. Start noticing those things, my fellow detective!

As you, by now, understand, scammers can also continue changing usernames, names, bios, pictures. They probably have a special Scammer R&D Department with some interns making combos of usernames and other interns buying cheap phone numbers in bulk to attach accounts. 🤷🏽‍♀️

Simple attentive comparison of profiles – one who writes you and one who is listed as a real admin in chat – will suffice here to provide enough evidence in your forensic investigation.

No-but Principle 3: But they talk legit 😱  

If you did not read anything above and just scrolled here, you probably have someone who reached out to you in Telegram direct messages and who uses “extremely professional language”🤓. Especially when it comes to explaining you the problem you somehow got with your account.

Among the masterpiece scammer language inventions: 

“Hitting hash script” 🥴, 

“S_Lang error” 🥴,

“Rectifying sync wallet”🥴,

 “Authentication address”🥴,

“Rectification deposit”🥴,

Do you know what’s common in these phrases? They mean NOTHING! For some, they might sound convincing, but it’s just a bunch of words. Oh, by the way, there is nothing wrong with your account – a scammer just makes it up to grab your attention!

Behind the unfamiliar (and meaningless) terms scammers use is really an intention to make you feel incompetent and convince you to trust them. But now you know better! We are making serious progress, Dr Watson! 

Identifying Scammers Requests

If you paid a little bit of attention to everything above, the investigator in you should be sufficiently satisfied to confidently press the BLOCK button on a direct message from someone who claims to be able to resolve your issue. Block and leave the scammer on “Read”! What a savage! 😈🔥

Let’s look at typical scammer requests, in case username and language forensics were not enough for you. This will be a nice addition to the whole scammer profile, so your investigation file has some hardcore evidence.

Typical Scammer Requests: 

A scammer:

🚩Demands to send funds to some address to resolve your issue;

🚩Asks to send a “returnable” deposit to resolve your issue;

🚩Requests you to loan funds because they have an urgent need;

🚩Asks to send funds to be eligible for a bonus or to participate in a giveaway.;

🚩 Invites to participate in a “great investment opportunity”. 

Any of the above should start ringing 🔔SCAMMER ALERT 🔔in your head! 

Psychological Tricks Used By Scammers:

Though Telegram scammers are far from intellectuals (or they would be doing something else), they deploy basic psychological pressures to make you comply with their requests.

🚩Time pressure: “You have 2 hours to send money”, “This needs to be fixed urgently”;

🚩Intimidation: “You will lose your account and your funds”;

🚩Assurances of legitimacy: “Don’t worry, your funds are safe”, “Trust me”, “Beware of scammers”;

🚩Guilt: “I guess you do not want to fix your account”;

🚩Technical language: see in the section above;

🚩Sense of progress: they will ask your personal info piece by piece and even move you to a different chat which is “more secure” (of course, it’s not!).

At this point, at every step you had a confirmation – whoever offers you help on Telegram is a SCAM. 

Get in My DM = It’s a SCAM

You can get as many proofs as you wish. Yet, even one proof – the fact that they wrote to you first in Telegram – is enough. Yes, my Detective Pikachu, that’s right, if someone wrote you privately claiming to be from our platform – you got enough evidence of an attempted scam. The investigation is complete!

What if it’s a well-wishing fellow?

What if someone who writes you does not claim any connection to our platform? Just a nice person who you happen to be in the same chat… Let’s call her Lori (and she knows who she is). Nice profile picture… Nothing pressing in a conversation…. Just an epitome of some good old networking. 

One day she just shows up with a nice “Hi, can we connect” and it does not feel like a threat at all. Tough luck – most likely it is also a scam, in a unicorn wrap. 

Here’s why:

Well-wishing fellow profile:

🤡Commonly comes in with a model-like profile image, or generally nicely done image or just a screenshot of some BTC- related graphics;

🤡Oftentimes has “certified investor and miner” in the bio – terms as non-existent as “hitting hash script” a few paragraphs above;

🤡Poses as interested in you and open to sharing ideas (see below).

Well-wishing fellow scammer requests and proposals: 

🧟‍♀️Engages in a “positive” conversation about catching opportunities in crypto and offers to “enlighten you”.

🧟‍♀️Notes that he/she knows an opportunity in trading/mining/investing that works and has been bringing some stable returns.

🧟‍♀️Shares a Telegram channel, a referral link to some platform or a bot promising you can start making money right away.

The magic proposal (aka definite SCAM TRAP): 

Inevitably a “well-wishing fellow” in Telegram offers you to join in on this grand money-making scheme and, boy, it sounds good! TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE (because it isn’t true).

☠️The proposal promises guaranteed returns, immediate reward, sizable airdrop, doubling your funds in a short period of time, or any other impossible-to-lose drool-inducing scheme.

☠️Others seem to also use it, because look at that (randomly generated) number of users the bot/site shows. If thousands of people trust it – it has to be legit. Except the number is totally fake. 

☠️In the flow of the site/bot/or your conversation with the well-wishing fellow, there comes a time for an address, where you need to send your money to in order to start ripping the profits.

☠️The big one: They will show you your first rewards. It seems to be working in the first day or two! Your heart is pumping! Your dream Lamba seems closer than you thought! You can actually check some growing number on an account you think you own.

☠️But! You can look but you cannot touch! The problem arises when you try to withdraw your sweet profits. Guess what, all the issues in the world suddenly start popping on the account where your profits are supposed to be.

☠️Of course, they might ask you to send a deposit to “unfreeze” your profits. Some more money from you. But you are already familiar with “returnable deposits” scheme.

☠️To sum it up, you will not get neither the “profits” they were flaunting in front of you nor the money you’ve sent to get those profits 💸.

That sums it up for that nice well-wishing fellow who reached to you on Telegram “just to connect”. A nice fellow turned out to be a nasty scammer!

Anti-scam Warrior 🦹🏻‍♀️

Now that you’ve got the wisdom about identifying a scam on Telegram, how do you oppose the dark forces? How do you fight scam in Telegram communities? How can you be that good warrior who can make the world a little better? 

Here is where you start: 

🤺Do not report your technical issues in the community chat (like stuck withdrawal, rejected card, lost 2fa, etc): admins of the channel do not have access to user accounts and cannot fix issues for you. All you are doing by reporting your issues in the channel is attracting scammers (you are there in need – they jump right on).

🤺Only use the official ticketing system, where you fill out the form that does directly to the support. Verify the URL of the form!

🤺Take screenshots of the messages from a scammer and, together with a username link, send them to @notoscam. If a scammer does not have a username, forward one of his messages to @notoscam.

🤺Share the same information in a chat if you care to notify other members of the chat (no multiple screenshots, please! It makes things messy and disorienting. Here’s a good template: “Guys, just letting you know, I’ve been reached by a scammer so you also should probably be on a lookout. Here’s the username: @smth and see a screenshot I attach.”)

🤺You may go further notifying the real admins of the chat about a scammer, especially in a “well-wishing fellow” scenario so they can quietly remove him/her from the group before they disguise themselves. The scammers impersonating admins, rarely hang out in the community chat. They usually have some other account to monitor the community activity.

🤺Block a scammer and move on. Or if you have a creative mind and a couple minutes to spare – waste their time, pretend to be clueless, mess up their hustle mode, discourage them. 

In conclusion

Dear friend, we are on a mission to stand strong against scammers on Telegram! Do you have what it takes to join the resistance? Then do your part! 

Do your own research! Understand the industry you want to participate in! Test and verify things before spending your money!

Follow the simple rules in this guide, apply the tips and principles with discipline, you are more than well-prepared to be a powerful warrior against scam on Telegram that sneakily slides in your direct messages! 

As usual, say “Hi” to us in Telegram, join a constructive discussion, share your thoughts, and just be a part of our community: https://t.me/CEX_IO.



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