Telegram: Scam Haven or Safe Space? Exposing the Dark Side

Follow the Click, Beware the Fall: Why Telegram’s a Scam Magnet?

A couple of days ago, I published an article on how Instagram’s ad rules are being ignored, and it’s now a spam tool to promote get-rich-quick quacks and betting services. The scammers often tricked innocent people into following them on Telegram by creating fake Telegram landing pages.

Over the last week, I came across hundreds of such promoted ads and video contents on Instagram. With deep-fake celebrity endorsements from Shah Rukh Khan to Amitabh Bachchan and fake and deceptive reviews of commoners on how it benefited them, all of them end up asking the user to sign up on their Telegram channel.

Why the prevalence of Telegram scams in India?

Earlier, it was just movie and e-book pirates that were using Telegram to share the pirated contents with others. But today, it’s the breeding ground for most scammers in India.

Privacy and Encryption: The messaging environment is private and not accessible to the public, which means they can operate under the radar and avoid detection by law enforcement or platform moderators. The disappearing messages only aid their cause.

Ease of use with a robust bot ecosystem: A simple application with a lot of features. Unlike many other messaging apps, it has a robust bot ecosystem, enabling them to create fake bot users. The fake users create activity within groups, making it appear as though there is a genuine level of interest and engagement. This can be misleading to new users, who may not realize that the activity is artificial.

Group and Channel Features: Telegram allows for large group chats and channels with thousands of members, including bot users. The fake activities remain undetected by a new user, who ends up being a victim.

Weak Admin Moderation: Telegram has a more relaxed approach to content moderation. It gives the group admins control. They may remove or silence users who speak out against their scams or expose their fraudulent activities.

Flexibility: ability to create large groups and features that offer various ways to communicate, such as voice calls, video calls, and file transfers, which gives scammers different options to choose from depending on the type of scam they are running.

Overall, Telegram’s design and functionality make it an appealing platform for scammers to operate on. Law enforcement and regulatory bodies need to work together to address these concerns and protect users from these types of threats.

What are some commonly seen scams on Telegram?

Get-Rich-Quick Scams: From fake investment opportunities to pyramid schemes, they are designed to exploit users’ financial gain.

Share Market Advice: With a fake profile picture, they impersonate real financial advisors to run their scams.

Betting Services: Scammers might promise guaranteed wins in betting using cracked software or premium services.

Part Time Jobs: Scammers approach individuals to offer online job opportunities such as reviews on Google, YouTube, etc.

What should you do if you receive such messages on Telegram?

Report the incident to Telegram and to your local authority. If you come across a new scam, report it to the media or a journalist. They can help create awareness among the public.

Be skeptical of any promises that seem too good to be true. Do your research before investing in any scheme or service. Never share your personal information with a stranger on the web.

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