how they work and what to do with them

scam_expl-min scam
scam_expl-min scam

As the industry develops, channels appear more and more actively in Telegram that share market analytics, reviews of coins and exchanges, signals and trends in the world of cryptocurrencies. Now you can find dozens of channels for both beginners and experienced investors. But this coin also has a downside: the number of scam schemes that attackers use in the messenger has recently increased. To protect you, the staff of the agency has prepared an article that describes the current methods of fraud in Telegram and the means to combat them.

What tools are used by scammers in Telegram

1. Advertising in Telegram Ads. Fraudsters post harmless, at first glance, ads. They promise to teach how to work with crypto, share reviews and analytics. Previously, you could see a lot of ads that offered users to get rich in the blink of an eye, but now such messages are prohibited in Telegram, so the ads have become less clickbait.

With the help of them, people are lured into a channel or a bot that shares useful information for some time, and then starts an active sale of coins (supposedly at an early stage) issued by the scammers themselves. At the same time, the contract of such tokens is written in such a way that it is impossible to sell them. We will discuss this scheme in more detail later in this article.

The payback of such a “campaign” is quite high. The cost of advertising in Telegram is calculated according to the CPM (Cost Per Mille) model – the price per 1,000 impressions. It is not fixed and varies depending on the topic. For example, in crypto, the average CPM can be around 7€. Compared to how much profit the scammers will receive, the advertising budget is several times lower.

2. Invitations from “friends”. Links to dubious sites can be sent to you by people from your contacts list or a community you trust. To do this, scammers hack your friend/colleague’s device or create an account with his photo/company logo. This lulls vigilance and increases the credibility of the link.

As a result, you will be taken to a fake site. This can be an imitation of a mining service or a crypto exchange, where you will be asked to make a deposit and quickly get a profit. Attackers can even show how your “contribution” grows. Soon such a site will close, and with it your deposit.

3. Fake support service. If you have an account on any financial service, scammers can write to you on Telegram, posing as an administrator. They will offer to solve any problem or check the protection of your wallets.

The scheme is very similar to the famous “calls from the bank” when scammers try to extract CVC cards from you. In the same way, you will be asked for a code from an SMS, specify your login and password, or offer to install additional programs (of course, spyware).

4. Buying channels. Fraudsters buy existing channels with a large number of subscribers in order to gain access to a wide audience. They then proceed to spread fake news, phishing links, or scam advertisements.

The costs for this are quite high, they depend on the number of subscribers and the popularity of the topic. For example, a top crypto channel with 50,000 subscribers can be purchased for 500,000 rubles, but the income from fraud will still cover this amount.

5. Use of bots. Here are some of them:

  • bots are community members. They are used to increase the credibility of the channel. Such bots create the illusion of popularity and reliability of the project – they write comments and leave reactions;
  • mailer bots. Links are sent in bulk: both in PM and in comments to posts. Of course, they lure you to phishing resources or fraudulent channels;
  • bots that send signals or information to traders. First, they send supposedly useful, “expert” content to inspire your confidence, and then they will offer to buy an exclusive coin, follow a secret link, etc.

Unfortunately, such tricks have a high margin. Often scammers use warm-up tactics to win over the audience and gain their trust.

An example of a scam scheme with warming up

  1. Attackers hire an actor to run a channel. As a rule, he does not know that he is being invited to a fraudulent project.
  2. The actor daily covers “his” deals and backs them up with screenshots (usually it’s all photoshop).
  3. For some time, this warm-up continues until the audience begins to trust the actor, his posts and the professionalism played out.
  4. Further, when the budget for advertising in Telegram Ads is used up, scammers make the channel closed so that no one can share the link and thus complain about it.
  5. Then the scam begins directly. Without the participation of the actor, scammers begin to publish posts that there is insider information about the coin, which in a few days will appear on all exchanges and its price will increase X times.
  6. Her scammers are created by themselves on a BSC contract and posted on PancakeSwap. Moreover, the contract is made in such a way that it is impossible to sell the “asset”.
  7. Every day, scammers “draw” screenshots, supposedly confirming that the coin appeared on one or another exchange. This is how they create demand and effect. FOMO.

An example of how the circuit works

First, creatives are published through Telegram Ads. At first glance, they seem harmless and lead to a completely safe channel. In the wording of ads, everything is also decent, no one promises to earn millions per minute.

Crypto cameras in Telegram: how they work and what to do with them
Crypto cameras in Telegram: how they work and what to do with them
Crypto cameras in Telegram: how they work and what to do with them

Some of the ads highlight that the channel is for beginners. This is probably done on purpose to recruit an audience of inexperienced users who are easier to mislead.

In order to build trust among subscribers, the authors are starting to publish posts with market reviews, deals, etc. So far, nothing suspicious.

Crypto cameras in Telegram: how they work and what to do with them
Crypto cameras in Telegram: how they work and what to do with them

After the audience began to trust the content, such posts appear.

Crypto cameras in Telegram: how they work and what to do with them

And then there are publications in which the author claims to have contacted the developers and received classified information.

Crypto cameras in Telegram: how they work and what to do with them

What is all this for? The total number of transactions for the token from the case we reviewed is 1,250.

Crypto cameras in Telegram: how they work and what to do with them

Of course, we cannot say what profit this particular scheme brought, but, as a rule, it is very high and exceeds the invested budget at least twice. But there are cases when the profit reached 500%. No wonder scammers seek to cash in this way.

Telegram actively counters scammers and regularly takes new measures to protect users. The platform constantly monitors suspicious content, blocks fraudulent channels and ads.

Moderation principles

  • in Telegram Ads: it is forbidden to use promises of huge profits and inflated expectations. Also, you cannot publish ads leading to closed channels or to channels that only publish signals or redirects. Moreover, at present it is not possible to publish links to external resources (such functionality is available only to a small number of companies in test mode);
  • in bots: it is also forbidden to send messages that promise cosmic interest or offer to earn huge amounts in five minutes. Also, you can’t send messages more than once a day. Also, Telegram does not allow you to create bots that are used only for the purpose of redirecting;
  • in channels: it is also forbidden to publish posts with promises of quick and incredible enrichment. Like bots, channels should be useful, they should not be used only for redirecting;
  • any illegal topics are prohibited in Telegram: gambling, 18+, fraudulent schemes, etc. This rule also complicates the activities of scammers;
  • all ads and the sites they lead to are re-checked by Telegram. This is done to exclude the substitution of channels or bots;
  • Telegram uses the SCAM tag — it helps to “highlight” potentially fraudulent channels and projects. Looks like that:
Crypto cameras in Telegram: how they work and what to do with them

Basic safety rules

The main principles used by crypto- (and indeed any) scammers in Telegram are gullibility, persuasiveness and excitement. They play on:

  • the topic of the crypt is quite complicated, many people do not understand it well;
  • create compelling content that can be mistaken for expert;
  • cause a sense of lost profits: “if you do not buy a coin now, others will do it and enrich themselves by X million.”

How to protect yourself:

  1. Maintain vigilance and critical thinking. Remember, few people are willing to share money with you. If you are offered to make quick money or get “secret” information, what is the purpose of this?
  2. Do not click on links within Telegram – do not click on links in posts or in the channel description if you do not trust it.
  3. Check information in special services or channels. Inside Telegram, you can find many communities that collect data about scammers.
  4. Don’t forget about two-factor authentication. Even if scammers learn your passwords, they won’t be able to log in without a verification code.

We hope these tips will help you secure your account and wallet, as well as allow you to take a critical look at the content and its authors.

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