Discord scams: What are they and how to avoid them

Discord is a free instant messaging social platform that’s popular on the internet. Giving its users the ability to voice/video call, text, share files and other media and access to its most well-known feature: servers. This has made it the go-to application for users to find online communities for the things they enjoy. Whatever the topic is, you’re bound to find servers dedicated to it on Discord. Servers are free and relatively easy to create which is why there’s so many of them. Scammers have also taken an interest in these servers, for obviously nefarious reasons...

What scams can we find on Discord?

The most commonly-reported scams of 2022 on Discord have been Phishing and Cryptocurrency scams. But there’s other noteworthy types of fraud too.

  • Phishing
  • Fake Giveaways
  • Cryptocurrency
  • Suspicious downloads

There’s something Phishy about these servers...

Discord allows its users to “boost” servers they are in by spending a set amount of money. Discord also has a premium feature called “Nitro” that allows users to customize their profiles and use limited features that aren’t available to free users. Finally, premium servers can become monetized by Discord to generate income for their owners.

Naturally all these factors have attracted scammers. Coupled with how easy it is to create servers and they’ve come up with ways to dupe unsuspecting victims into making them some easy money or giving them access to limited features.

So the scammer creates a server, then what? Then, they name it something that’s sure to catch the eye like the ever prominent “Name and Shame” server and then send out invites to people. The text usually reads : "heyy ummm idk what happened or if its really you but it was your name and the same avatar and you sent a girl erm ---- stuff like what the f***? (server invite link) check #exposed and youll see. anyways until you explain what happened im blocking you. sorry if this is a misunderstanding but i do not wanna take risks with having creeps on my friendslist."

The unsuspecting victim will then feel paranoid or scared and click the link to join the server and see what the issue is. Once they enter it, an unofficial bot demands that they verify their account by scanning a QR code. And as soon as the victim does that, their account gets hacked into within seconds and they will find that the hacker has sent all their friends the same message that they received first then blocked them all so the friends can’t report it or inform the victim of what happened. But the damage doesn’t just stop there. The victim will find that their account was used to boost the server and gifted a 1 year Nitro subscription to the scammer which is basically worth 100 Dollars!

So what can be done if you’ve fallen for this scam?
  1. First thing you must do is change your password immediately. A password change forces anyone who’s logged into your account to be logged out.
  2. If you have 2FA enabled, make sure to generate new backup codes as well.
  3. Next, try to cancel any transactions by checking the Gifts and Boosts menus. In case you can’t do it on Discord because the scammer already received the gifts/boosts try to contact your credit card issuer/bank/PayPal to see if you can get refunded.
  4. Check if there are any unauthorized apps or sites that you don’t recognize and remove them.

Fake Giveaways

Just as the title suggests, these scams are all about luring people into thinking they’d won something randomly and stealing their account/money. It can be considered a form of phishing.

It all starts when the victim receives a DM from someone claiming that they’re giving away a free Nitro subscription. All the victim has to do is scan a QR code or click on some link to redeem the gift.

To make this sound more convincing, the scammer will pretend to be someone trustworthy like a Discord-affiliated party. Naturally, seeing something official-looking sets the mind at ease and lulls the victim into a false sense of security which in turn leads them to succumbing to this scheme.

Avoiding this scam is rather easy, just keep in mind that Discord would never ask you to scan a QR code to redeem a Nitro sub. And it should go without saying that you shouldn’t trust random strangers offering things for free online.

Cryptocurrency

Cryptocurrency and NFTs are all the rage these days. Everyone wants in on the crypto market, especially scammers. To do so on Discord, they rely on the good-ol’ Fake Giveaway scam we were just talking about.

The scammer will once again pretend to be a trusted trader/NFT artist/merchant and start sending DMs in which they claim that the user they’re contacting has won some BTC or an NFT drop randomly. They then urge you to create an account on an unknown trading platform so you can withdraw the money you’ve supposedly won.

But there’s a catch. There’s always a catch. In order to withdraw your so-called winnings, you must first deposit some money into the platform. If you play along and send them the required amount, you lose your hard-earned money to fill their pockets.

The scammer will put in a lot of effort into making the fake exchange site look legit and may even ask for extremely sensitive personal data such as an ID or photo of the victim to “verify” the account. So by signing up you not only risk losing money, you also risk having your identity stolen or your personal information sold.

As previously stated, the sure-fire way to avoid this scam is to avoid trusting random people, especially if they’re offering deals and giveaways that seem too good to be true. And it pays to always do your research before jumping into an opportunity online.

Suspicious downloads

Exactly what it says on the tin, this scam will have the scammer contacting a victim and asking them to download a suspicious file of code or media. It should be rather easy to detect this if it’s coming from a stranger, but scammers are a savvy bunch and will instead usurp the identity of a trusted friend/server moderator and ask the victim to do them a favor. The files will undoubtedly contain malware and other risky things.

The best way to avoid this is to clearly never download files or enter links from strangers. If a friend asks for a favor that requires downloading a file, don’t jump the gun and do it. Their account could be hacked.

How to report these Discord scams?

If you ever run into a scam on Discord, you can share your experience online and help others avoid it. You can make a report on our site using this form. And you can report the scam to Discord and their Trust and Safety team here.

Want to see more examples of these Discord scams and know more about them?

If you scroll down this page, you will see many user-submitted reports about the scams they’ve encountered. And there’s articles that we’ve chosen to feature that further explain and detail these scams.

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