Home Security Heroes independently tests and reviews every product. We may earn a commission when you buy through our links. Read more here.
For a while, it seemed investing in cryptocurrency was the thing to do.
“There’s plenty of money to be made,” people would say. It’s also a quick way to lose money for those who know nothing about buying cryptocurrency.
That’s what happened to a Singapore investor.
She wasn’t new to trading. She’d been investing for years. Yet this was different because she joined a Discord chat group, where investors exchanged cryptocurrency trading tips.
Soon after joining, she began chatting with another member of the group. He invited her to join him on another app, Telegram and sent her a link.
She clicked over and watched as he showed her how he invested in a cryptocurrency called bbkx DT. She invested what she considered a small amount, $2,790. Overnight, she earned a 10 percent commission on that initial investment.
After another month of chatting with her new crypto buddy, she got braver and put in $50,000. She told her friend she wanted to end the investment there.
The good news is she earned $20,000 on that $50,000.
The bad news? She couldn’t withdraw a dime of the money she’d earned…or put in.
Her “friend” had disappeared, and customer service wasn’t helpful. To get the money, they told her she’d need to put in another $14,000 to “top off” the amount so she could withdraw. She did as they said, and then customer service went dark.
All in all, she lost about $70,000 on the scam.
As it turns out, bbkx DT is a known Discord cryptocurrency scam. Someone befriends you, talks you into putting some money in on a platform outside of Discord, and eventually disappears with your money.
What are Discord Scams?
With so many social media platforms, it can be tough to keep up.
Discord is one of those platforms. It’s particularly popular with gamers looking for a way to interact. It syncs up with some of the most popular gaming consoles for in-game chat, or you can use it when you’re not gaming.
Yet gamers aren’t the only ones who use Discord. You’ll find servers dedicated to entertainers, tech tools, and more. If you have an interest, chances are there’s a Discord community relating to it.
As with any popular online platform, scammers like Discord. They’ve found ways to make money and steal information. I have to say – that these scams seem more complicated and tech-driven than others.
Let’s take a look at some of the most popular.
Types of Discord Scams
- Free Discord Nitro Scams
- Steam Link Scams
- Fake Giveaway Scams
- Name-and-Shame Scams
- Crypto and NFT Scams
- Support Scams
If you’re a gamer, you probably know all about Discord.
You can voice, text, video chat, and share files. Chats can be private or in groups, arranged as “communities.”
Many scams rely on someone reaching out to you on the platform. Often, you’ll meet someone in a community and end up in a private chat.
As with many online platforms, Discord makes it easy for scammers to hide in plain sight. They’ll come across as friendly, trustworthy people who share your interests.
Here are some of the most common ways scammers use Discord.
1. Free Discord Nitro Scams
What Is It?: Discord is free, but you must pay for premium features like custom avatars and larger file uploads. This paid service is called Nitro, and it’s a top target for scammers. Users can gift each other Nitro in chat, and scammers use this to send links to unsuspecting members. When you click the link or scan the QR code your supposed donor sends, you’re directed to a dummy page that captures your login information.
How to Spot It: First, it’s rare that a stranger will send another stranger a gift. Even if it’s someone you’ve communicated with for a while, question the motive for this sudden generosity. Another telltale sign is in the link. Someone can gift Nitro, but it won’t come across as a QR code. The link will typically include discord.gift. Discord.com is another option. If the link doesn’t use one of those two naming conventions (even if it’s a close variation), don’t click.
How to Avoid It: Question any link that’s shared on Discord. Can you go to the source without clicking? If so, opt to go that route. Contact Discord support if you have questions about a gift someone’s sent you.
2. Steam Link Scams
What is it?: Steam is a popular gaming platform that can be linked to Discord. This scam loops in Nitro, promising new Nitro features if you link your Discord and Steam accounts. Another version of the scam alerts you that Steam is offering Nitro for free for a limited time. The goal is to get you to input your Steam username and password into a pop-up box, and those credentials are then stolen.
How to Spot It: With any link on Steam, hover for a few seconds to check out the URL. It should end with Discord.com. If it’s something else – even a variation of Steam.com or Nitro.com – it’s probably a hoax. You can also do a quick Internet search to see if Steam is offering any deals to Discord members.
How to Avoid It: Always hesitate before clicking links on Discord. Most scams aim to take you to a separate site since committing fraud directly on the platform is tougher.
3. Fake Giveaway Scams
What Is It?: Discord’s thriving community of gamers makes it a great platform for marketers. That’s why you’ll see no shortage of giveaways in various communities and get great deals. Yet mixed in with those legit offers are some scams.
Giveaway scams can be run individually, but bots are often used. To claim your prize, you’ll have to click on a link that takes you to a separate page. On that page, your information is captured.
How to Spot It: Did you enter a giveaway? No business is going to wander around, randomly handing out prizes. Giveaways are conducted for publicity. So, by the time you win something on Discord, chances are, it’s been marketed widely, and there are quite a few entrants.
Another telltale sign is the link. Hover over it and make sure the link keeps you within Discord. Even if the external link looks legit, close scrutiny will likely show it’s slightly off from the brand’s real domain.
How to Avoid It: Make a note of every contest you enter, particularly if you’re regularly entering giveaways on Discord. Avoid clicking on links that take you to an external site. If you do choose to click (don’t), skip any requests for personally identifiable information (PII) or account logins.
4. Name-and-Shame Scams
What Is It?: How much would you do to protect your reputation? This scam preys on that. In this case, someone impersonates one of your Discord friends and reaches out. Using casual language, the supposed friend tells you that someone sent embarrassing content posing as you.
Often, it’s compromising material like nude photos of women. It includes an invitation to join a group, and when you click, you’re asked to scan a QR code. This action gives the scammer access to your account, through which more name and shame messages can be sent.
How to Spot It: The invitation to join a group is the first sign it’s a scam. Think about it: If you received strange content from a friend, would you invite the person to a group? No. You’d reach out and let the person know.
How to Avoid It: Resist clicking strange links, even if they appear to be from a friend. Instead, contact the friend on a different platform (text, email, or another social media account) and ask if the person sent you a message on Discord. If not, this message will alert your friend that his or her Discord account may have been compromised.
5. Crypto and NFT Scams
What Is It?: Gamers aren’t the only ones hanging out on Discord. Crypto and NFT investors have also found a home on the site. It’s a great place to exchange tips and learn. There’s no shortage of experts, but with experts come scammers. With this scam, someone poses as a crypto or NFT expert and earns your trust. You’re then urged off the platform to “invest.”
How to Spot It: You’ll meet plenty of investing experts on Discord, but a scammer seems particularly eager to help you. The person will oversell the ease of making money with these new investment methods. But the biggest sign you’re dealing with a scammer is the rush to communicate with you outside of Discord.
How to Avoid It: Always be cautious when taking a Discord interaction outside the community. Remember, people can pretend to be anyone, especially as Deepfake technology makes creating fake video and audio identities easy.
✎ Related: Common Cryptocurrency Scams ➔
6. Support Scams
What Is It?: Support scams exist across all tech platforms. Someone reaches out to you, offering to troubleshoot an issue. On Discord, the message is often in response to a call for help you’ve posted in one of the communities. Someone sends you a direct message pretending to be from an administrative representative of that community. The goal is to get you to hand over money or account details.
How to Spot It: On many reputable Discord servers, an admin will let members know that official community staff will never reach out privately to offer help. If someone does reach out, that person shouldn’t ask for your account details or money.
How to Avoid It: Take caution when interacting with someone who messages you. Resist handing over details or money or clicking links in such DMs. If you have questions, reach out to someone in admin in the community to find out if the sender is legit.
Avoiding Discord Scams
There’s no avoiding scams, no matter which platform you use.
For that reason, scams are no reason to avoid Discord, particularly if you enjoy it.
Here are some tips to help you stay safe while on Discord.
1. Update Your Discord Settings
Did you know Discord has some safeties built in?
It’s under Settings, and it could help keep your account safe.
To tighten up your messaging settings, follow these steps while logged into your Discord account:
- Under User Settings, find the Privacy & Safety section
- Look for the Direct message filters
- Choose how you want direct messages with images filtered (all DMs, DMs from non-friends, or not at all)
- Choose how you want direct messages filtered overall (all DMs, DMs from non-friends, or not at all).
This can help reduce the number of strangers who can reach you over direct messages. But even if you allow messages from friends, remember that scammers and strangers can friend you or hack into a friend’s account.
2. Don’t Trust Strangers
Online interactions can feel enticingly real.
Maybe you share a passion for a specific game. You might even be rivals.
You could be Taylor Swift’s biggest fan. Or Rihanna’s or Leonardo Dicaprio’s.
This shared interest can form a bond that transcends the need to meet in person. Even if you never see or speak to someone, it can start to feel like you’re friends.
But you don’t know these people. Even if it’s someone you know in real life, dummy accounts can be created, and existing accounts can be hacked.
Always use some caution when you’re interacting with someone on Discord. Be friendly, but keep your guard up. When someone provides a link or asks for personal information, no matter how well you know that person, proceed with caution.
3. Enable 2-Factor Authentication
Two-factor authentication can help keep your account safe if someone does find a way in.
What does it do? You’ll get a message if someone tries to log into your Discord account from a different device. You can verify your own new logins using this method, but it protects you from others being able to log in as you.
This is not set up by default. Worse, Discord doesn’t make it as easy as other apps.
Once the authenticator is installed, go to Discord and navigate to “User Settings,” then Account.
You’ll then need to link Discord to your authenticator app. You can do this using the provided QR code or manually entering the code.
4. Guard Your Information
Scammers don’t just want money. They often want information.
Your Discord username and password can be used to log in as you and commit fraud. If you provide usernames and passwords to financial accounts, the information can be used to steal your money or your account.
Yet that isn’t the only information that can hurt you.
Scammers can grab your PII and use it to apply for loans in your name or commit employment fraud.
If anyone is asking for information that could be used for fraud, always take a long pause.
Recovering from Discord Scams
So you’ve been scammed.
Regret is a waste of time. Instead, take some steps to reduce the damage. Here are a few things to do if you’ve been scammed on Discord.
1. Report It
Take a look at what’s been compromised. If you think it might be your financial accounts, contact customer service for those accounts and let someone know.
If your identity could have been compromised, IdentityTheft.gov is your best resource.
You may want to fire a police report, assuming a crime has been committed.
Also, make sure you reach out to Discord. They’ll likely want to know about the scam.
2. Consider Identity Theft Protection
Whether or not your identity has been compromised, getting the best Identity theft protection is worth considering.
It can help you sleep a little better at night.
Services like Aura, IdentityForce, and LifeLock will not only monitor for signs of fraud but also help you out if you ever become an identity theft victim.
Best of all, they’ll alert you if something needs your attention. This can ensure you take action on identity theft before it can become a bigger problem.
Discord is a great way to interact with others who share your interests. With streaming interactions, it can also be a way to enhance your gaming experience.
As long as you use caution with your interactions on there and steer clear of suspicious links, you should be able to stay safe. Knowing the danger is the first step toward avoiding them.
Scammers are present on almost every platform, and Discord is no exception. Over time, you’ll find these practices become a habit, and you’ll be keeping yourself safe everywhere.
✎ Other Social Media and Communications App Scams:
Last Updated on