Spotting a Bait & Switch Scam

We’ll tell you about a scam that has been targeting people in the shitcoin community.

In this blog post, we’ll tell you about a scam that has been targeting people in the shitcoin community, and we’ll give you one simple solution to help protect you from falling victim to it.

So, imagine you’re sitting at your computer, glued to the chat in a new shitcoin’s telegram channel. Any minute now, the admins are going to release the official link for this shitcoin’s limited presale. Upon release, you’ll race with thousands to try and submit your BNB, reserving your spot amongst the few lucky ones who “got in early”.

A friend sends you a private message, you leave the shitcoin chat for just a moment to reply, then hop back in; to your relief, no updates were posted in your brief absence. Finally, the admins mute the chat -- the first sign that they’re about to release the presale link!  

Moments later, the presale link is pinned in the chat! You click on it, connect your wallet to the website, throw in your BNB as fast as possible, and raise your hands in celebration as you’ve made it!

This might be the opportunity for you to finally 100x your investment!  

You head back over to Telegram to gloat about your victory...except you notice something odd. There are two different, yet identical Telegram groups! They share the same shitcoin logo and name. Dread begins to creep in, as your gut tells you that something’s not right. You click on one of the shitcoin chatrooms to see a pinned link to the presale -- ok, that appears normal. Next, you click on the identical Telegram group, only to read people sending warnings about a fake presale link posted in an imposter telegram channel. All your energy leaves your body, as you realize that you fell for a scraping scam, and there is no way to retrieve your lost funds.

Telegram is a decent communication app, but one very flawed feature is that users can be added to new groups without any prompting or request to join. Scammers have been taking advantage of this feature, a process called scraping. If you’ve ever seen random telegram channels added to your sidebar, you’ve probably been scraped. And while not all telegram groups that scrape individuals are scams, it’s probably best to avoid them just in case.

The scam above (one which I actually fell for) uses scraping + some additional trickery to steal crypto from unsuspecting users. In my case, the scammers made an exact replica of a telegram channel I was in and added me (and thousands of others) to their fake room. Next, they posed as the admin from the real channel, muted the chat, then provided a fake presale link. When all was said and done, they tricked hundreds of people and made away with tens of thousands of dollars.

You can use to avoid being tricked.

I’ve since learned of one simple feature in Telegram you can use to avoid being tricked into entering a fake Telegram chat.

On your Telegram account, you’ll see “All Chats”. It’s a chaotic list of chats bouncing up and down every time someone types a message, and should just be avoided altogether. Instead, you’re going to want to set up folders, which will allow you to filter out all the chaos. Personally, I have several folders based on tokens I’m looking to buy into, tokens I’m watching, and tokens I own.  

No one can add groups to your folders, so you don’t have to worry about an imposter chat making its way into the list. Scammers can still scrape you into fake Telegram channels, but you’ll never even see those channels if you avoid your “All Chat” area.  

I hope one day Telegram implements a system that won’t leave users vulnerable to being scraped into scam groups, but until then, play it safe and set up folders.

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