If you haven't heard of Discord, you must have been living under a rock. This year alone, the platform is expected to reach a whopping 514 million users, up from 25 million in 2016. For those of us who were late to the party, Discord is a social platform used for instant messaging and VoIP ( an alternative to traditional phone calls).
Discord allows users to communicate via text messaging, voice, and video calls, and send files in private chats or as part of communities called "servers". While initially only popular within the gaming scene, utilizing AI tools like Midjourney via Discord has pushed it mainstream. Today, Discord is used by communities, friends, and even businesses.
When it comes to connecting and building communities, Discord is an amazing platform. Unfortunately, wherever there's a big crowd of people with common interests, shady cybercriminals follow. In the last quarter of 2022, Discord took down more than 36 million spam accounts. But, sadly, that hasn’t stopped hackers as Discord continues to be a breeding ground for cyberattacks, with crypto being the main threat. Sound alarming, right? Get this - 1 out of 25 files on Discord potentially contain malware. While these scams affect users of all ages, younger users are particularly vulnerable due to their tendency to trust unfamiliar individuals online.
“Discord is a great tool to connect with like-minded individuals. But it's also a lightning rod for scammers.”
With scams on the rise, tools like Guardio are becoming essential for users seeking to protect their information on platforms like Discord. In this article, we’ll deep dive into some of the more popular scams on Discord, and explain how they work. As per usual, we'll also give you some safety tips on how Guardio can enhance your online security, so you can stay protected. Buckle up, it’s going to be a bumpy ride.
Are you really safe online?
Just like Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, and other social media platforms, Discord is free, and only premium features have a cost attached (from $4.99 to $9.99). This opens up the floodgates to everybody and anybody. I mean, who doesn’t love a free account? Cybercriminals definitely do!
What to look out for on Discord
Did you get a friend request or direct message (DM) from an unfamiliar contact? Did someone post a free subscription or product giveaway? Your spidey senses should be tingling by now. In general, it’s always a good idea to be careful when you see an offer that might seem too good to be true or get a DM from an unfamiliar contact.
‘Too good to be true’ offers are a classic method scammers use to get you to click a sketchy link or download a malicious file. Sometimes, they’ll even pose as Discord staff members or moderators in order to lure people in. The goal? To trick users into handing over personal information like Discord login credentials or credit card details.
While you should definitely keep your guard (io) up while using Discord - you shouldn’t stop using it. Because that would mean the bad guys are winning, and we can’t let that happen, can we? You just need to be safe and educate yourself about the risks - that’s exactly what we’re here for!
Just like any other online communication, when using Discord, it's always a good idea to be cautious, especially if you're in a chat room with lots of unfamiliar people. Or, in simple terms, you never know who you’re actually talking to on the other side of the screen. People that claim to be your friends can very well be scammers that are using stolen accounts to manipulate you into giving them personal information or clicking a malicious link.
The best way to safeguard your device from online threats is to use a reliable online security tool like Guardio. Guardio’s Chrome extension monitors suspicious activity and blocks hackers from stealing your data.
Nitro is a paid membership on Discord that gives users advanced privileges and features such as custom emojis, stickers, a custom number tag, animated avatars, server enhancements, and more. To avid users, getting a free Nitro subscription is like winning the lottery. Cybercriminals know this, and that’s exactly the amo they use to lure them in.
Scammers will send out DMs, or promote free giveaways to try and convince you that they have an extra Discord Nitro account, and they’re generously giving it away - all you need to do is click the link, and it’s all yours. Don’t do it!
QR code scams
Discord has the option to log in using a special QR code, which bypasses two-factor authentication. Simply put, it’s a way to link your mobile device with a computer, no matter where you are. Scammers send out a QR code either as DMs or on servers. Once you scan the code, they can instantly log into your account and steal your Discord token.
You should never approve a QR code login that you didn't generate yourself! If you received a QR code via a DM that opened the login verification screen, just hit cancel.
Discord servers often host genuine giveaways. Unfortunately, scammers exploit users' familiarity with these offers by creating fake versions of their own. The bogus giveaways are the scammer's way of using phishing techniques aimed at deceiving users into revealing personal or sensitive information.
A good rule of thumb is to exercise caution and skepticism when participating in giveaways on Discord and verifying their authenticity to protect yourself from falling victim to scams.
Discord Steam scams
Steam is one of the most popular gaming platforms in the world, with over 30,000 games and millions of daily users. Not only does it provide a platform for gaming, but it also includes a marketplace and trading features - that can be used to buy, sell, and trade virtual items from games, as well as a wallet.
With Discord being the OG chatting platform for gamers and Steam one of the leading video game distributors, it seems like the two platforms are a match made in heaven. Naturally, merging them allows users to enjoy the best of both worlds but, ironically, it also gives cybercriminals another way to hack accounts.
Crypto and NFT scams
The process of uploading a specific item to the blockchain is known as minting. In order to engage in buying, selling, or trading NFTs (Non-Fungible Tokens), it’s necessary to mint the digital assets on the blockchain. Why are we telling you this?
Because scammers exploit this process by impersonating NFT artists and using misleading tactics. They may falsely claim to be giving away NFTs or crypto prizes, using fake automated messages to deceive Discord users into giving away sensitive information, such as cryptocurrency wallet details.
Don’t let Discord scams compromise your online safety
There are a few things you can do to stay safe while using Discord. First off, don't accept friend requests from people you don't know, this may seem like a no-brainer, but it's worth repeating. If someone sends you a friend request and you don't know who they are, ignore it.
Don't click on links from people you don't know. This is one of the most common ways people get scammed on Discord. Scammers will often send messages with links that lead to malicious websites or downloads. If you're unsure if a link is safe, you can hover over it without clicking and see where it’ll take you. But don’t click it.
The best way to protect yourself from online scams is to have security software on your browser. That way, you get notified if you click a dangerous link, and are alerted if you’re being taken to fishy websites.
Don't give out personal information to anyone - This includes your real name, address, phone number, and especially your credit card information. Scammers often pose as Discord customer service reps or staff members in order to get your information. If someone asks for personal information, make sure you know who they are and why they need it before giving it out.
Use common sense - If something seems too good to be true, it probably is. Don't believe everything you read on the internet, and be wary of anyone trying to get you to do something you're not comfortable with.
Report any suspicious activity to a moderator - If you see something that looks like a scam, report it to a Discord staff member or server’s moderators so they can take action and warn others about it.
Use two-factor authentication - Activate Discord's 2-step verification feature to add an extra layer of security to your account. Once enabled, you’ll get a verification code to your default device whenever someone tries to log in from a different device. This extra step ensures that you are in control of your account and keeps unwanted intruders out.
Be cautious of server invites - Scammers will often create fake servers to get people to join them. If you're unsure if a server is legitimate, you can always ask a friend or moderator.
Don't give out your password to anyone - This includes staff members, moderators, and customer service reps. No one should ever need your password, so don't give it to anyone.
Use a secure browser - When logging in to your Discord account, make sure you're using a secure browser like Google Chrome. Avoid using public computers or Wi-Fi networks to log in to your account.
Keep your software up to date - Regularly update your operating system and browser to help keep your account safe. New updates often include security fixes that can help protect you from scammers.
Guard Against Discord Scams with Guardio
As Discord's user base expands, so do the cyber threats lurking in its corners. Guardio provides a robust security solution to safeguard your Discord interactions from prevalent scams. Here's how:
Real-time monitoring: Guardio's software is always on the lookout. It continuously scans for suspicious activity, ensuring that threats are identified and neutralized before they cause any harm.
Malware prevention: With stats like 1 out of 25 files on Discord may contain malware, Guardio's role becomes even more crucial. The Guardio actively blocks malicious files, ensuring your device remains untainted.
Identity theft protection: Guardio regularly checks if your personal information has been leaked on the dark web, ensuring that you're informed and can take immediate action.
Phishing alerts: Guardio's scam detection promptly warns you about potential phishing attempts, be it through suspicious websites or deceptive emails, ensuring that you don't fall prey to these scams.
Guardio's mobile app: With the Guardio app installed on your mobile device, you also receive real-time alerts about "smishing" attempts,(SMS-scams). This ensures that you're protected not just on Discord, but also from threats that might come through your mobile messages.
Seamless integration: Guardio's browser extension effortlessly integrates into your browsing experience. Once installed, it works silently in the background, ensuring that you're protected without any obstacles to your online activities.
Given the insidious nature of online scams, it's no longer just about being cautious. It's about being equipped. And with Guardio's scam detection, you get the robust protection you need against the evolving threats on platforms like Discord.
Are you really safe online?
This is what our customers have to say
I spend much of my time browsing and Guardio works quietly in the background, only reporting when there's something I need to know. Mr Bill Bebbington
I love this app, I have eliminated pop ups entirely and it also warns me against harmful sites that I might otherwise open. Very effective! Shannon Johnson
With its wide range of features and ever-growing user base, Discord has become a popular social platform for communication and community-building. However, as the platform continues to evolve and gain popularity, so does the presence of scams and cybercriminals.
From Nitro scams and fake giveaways to QR code scams and NFT-related frauds, scammers employ various techniques to fool unsuspecting users. They impersonate NFT artists, create fake accounts, and use phishing tactics to trick users into sharing sensitive information or clicking on malicious links.
While scams on Discord continue to pose a threat, by staying informed, maintaining vigilance, and taking the necessary precautions, you can navigate the platform securely and enjoy its benefits without falling victim to cybercriminals. Remember, by practicing online safety, you can foster a positive and secure environment for everyone on Discord.