Discord allows us to communicate with others – but does it open us up to fraud? Beware of tons of Discord scams swarming the platform these days.
It doesn’t matter where you are located in the world today; if you have a device that can connect to the Internet, you can easily communicate with people anywhere. Global communication opened the world up to everyone seeking to learn more about themselves and others and created a gateway of opportunities to engage in conversation. Facebook, Instagram, Discord, and Skype are just a few of the current platforms we all use to send messages and meet new people.
We have learned that not all communication is meant for the good with this far-reaching ability – some have nefarious intentions. Discord has opened up the world to connect and allows those who wish to scam, hurt or steal from others an easy way to reach into anyone’s home quickly. The platform has become a leading app used to scam individuals and Discord phishing.
What Does Discord Do?
Discord is one of the newest apps that creates a quick and easy way to chat, email or just hang out with your friends. When I asked my youngest son what he thinks about Discord, he told me, “It’s a cool app. I like being able to see when my friends are there, and I can just jump on to talk to them instead of calling them on the phone.”
A positive answer from a teenager that is often critical of some of the other platforms as being “LAME.” But with this all-access way for us all to reach out, there seems to be an open invitation for the criminals to also reach out to individuals using the site. Educators also use Discord in classrooms and to set up channels of discussion or their student community. Discord claims to want “everyone to have a safe, positive and inclusive experience, no matter what brought them here.”
Targeted to youth with its bright cartoon-like design, Discord offers voice communication-themed chat channels. Discord seems like a great place to hang out. For an even better experience, there is Discord Nitro, a paid upgrade to the site, with enhanced file sharing, emoji upgrades, and more. What seems like an excellent connection spot is also a dark, scam-filled arena.
What Scams Are On Discord?
We all think we know a scam when we see it – but do we really? Even the savviest internet user can fall prey to these smart, sneaky individuals. What can feel like an innocent question can quickly change into a ruse. Be aware that the few scams we are talking about here are not the only ones we should be mindful of.
1. Site Support
Who doesn’t want someone from a new service to help us navigate their service? What seems to be a simple offer for help when you ask in a channel for some support? A direct message from someone offering services from someone from Discord. Being new on the platform, it can feel tough to navigate the site – it is easy to fall prey to someone that seems to want to help. The goal is to garner your account or financial information, which we all know can lead to financial exploitation and identity theft.
2. Steam Giveaways
If you are familiar with Steam, you know that this game platform is a coveted site for teenagers. Steam giveaways are an easy way to connect with individuals looking to score some free stuff on Steam. Who wouldn’t want to get free games just to communicate with someone in a direct message or even sneakier public statement?
If you look carefully, these offers are often misspelled. Misspelling words allows scammers to work around automatic blocks meant to keep you safe. The misspelled words do not trigger the security the same way a post like “FREE Steam giveaway” would. Look carefully – does it say FREE STREAM giveaway? Discord is not giving away Steam gifts – don’t fall for it!
3. Nitro Giveaway
Let’s move to the Discord Nitro scam. Like the fake Steam giveaway, free Nitro memberships are also a scam that is used to lure you in. Scammers reach out to you through a message in your channel or a DM with seemingly innocent offers or questions. They are highly skilled at luring you in with recommendations, intending to gather information.
Just know that you are not going to receive a free membership. If at any time you think someone is trying to offer you this, initiate a direct message of your own through the contact portal to be sure you are speaking to someone from Discord. Never click on links or offer websites that someone you do not know sends to you on Discord.
4. Education On Crypto
Watch out for Discord crypto scams. If you are like me, cryptocurrency can seem to be confusing. Trying to understand what, if any, crypto is safe to invest in, where and how to invest, and what to do once you start seems like a lot to understand. Scammers know this and use Discord to connect with people who want to invest. The best way to stay safe is to never talk with people you do not know. If anyone new approaches you regarding crypto education, do not engage with them. This is not a service provided by Discord.
5. Offers For Free Stuff
If you get a direct message offering you free prizes for a survey, requesting information, or an offer for gifts, be aware! Discord scams using free offers can be easy to spot and easy to fall for.
A few people in this world don’t want something for free, especially when there are tech gadgets in high demand. It’s essential to know who you are talking to within your channel. If someone you don’t know tries to contact you, it is better to be safe than sorry and not respond.
Are Giveaways On Discord Legit?
Searching the Discord website and a cruise through Google, it appears that there are no Discord-supported giveaways. This means that it is even more important to understand that anyone who messages you with an offer, education, or support can have poor intentions. Although difficult to manage on any platform, Discord seems to take this responsibility seriously. It offers many tips, suggestions, and steps to keep your account and yourself safe while using its platform.
By controlling the experience within Discord, you can be assured that your information will be safe. Discord appears to have the best intention for creating a safe, legitimate space for conversation, connection, and communication – just be suspicious of anyone that is not part of your circle. Ask questions, be wise, and report all suspicious activity to Discord.
How Can You Stay Safe And Avoid Scams on Discord?
With any site with a target audience for children, Discord has set up resources, help, and links for assistance. The biggest thing to note is that clicking a link sent to you is VERY different from using a link established on the site within the help areas. As pointed out on the safety tab on the Discord platform, there are many ways to avoid getting scammed.
The primary tips within the safety section are the same as with most online experiences:
- Never click on any unfamiliar or unexpected link – In other words, if you didn’t search for a link, or someone you don’t know sent you a link, DON’T click on it!
- Never download unfamiliar files – A file sent to you from someone on Discord is not a file you should receive, mainly when it is not from a known sender. A best practice is never to download anything unless you have requested it, directly see the individual, or send the file yourself.
- Be careful about sharing personal information: It is inappropriate to share personal information on the website with people you do not know. Meeting friends and joining communities is part of the platform, but be thoughtful about what you share. It is better to keep your phone number, address, or even your city out of the conversation. With the connections available on the Internet, even sharing the city or state, you live in can lead to someone finding more information about you than you wanted to share.
- Discord will only make announcements through their official channels – When Discord wants to share information, it will come directly from their platform, not as a direct message. If you ever feel unsure about the information you are receiving on Discord, reach out to the support team and ask if Discord sent the information you are concerned about. It is always better to ask than to try and figure it out yourself.
Predators And Sex Trafficking On Discord
With any society-connected platform, you find people there for the right and wrong reasons. Although the goal is always to keep their customers safe, it is challenging to ensure that all people utilizing the platform are appropriate.
When the casual conversation regarding Discord scams continued with my 17 and 18-year-old, one asked me, “have you talked to anyone about the grooming yet?” Unfortunately, it was easy to understand what he was referring to. The research supports his theory that Discord, like other media platforms, has its share of individuals trying to connect with minors online.
Because online safety is vital for everyone, educating our children is the most important way to curb these situations. Knowing what your children do online, searching their online history, and not allowing online time in places you cannot supervise can help keep the risks lower. As parents, we must have conversations with our children about online safety and report any suspicious activity. It is also an excellent idea to spot-check any conversations your child has online.
Scams on Discord are real – Discord itself is working hard to reduce your risks, but they cannot do it alone. Finding ways to ensure your safety means knowing who you are connecting to.
Utilizing the safety measures within the Discord system, you can help reduce your risks, but no one can keep you safe from the scams on Discord.
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How To Report a Scammer
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