Today we will examine a scam involving multiple platforms, including Facebook, Telegram, CashApp, and Cryptocurrency. We’ll look at it as a case study for understanding Telegram scams. There are many similar scams on Telegram, unfortunately.
It often begins with a Facebook post published in viral groups. The post encourages people to reply for more information about an exciting opportunity.
Case Study: Telegram Investment Scam
For example, in a post by Itz Kvng Horlax in the Facebook group “ChatGPT,” they asked people to send their country’s name to receive information about a lucrative earning platform.
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Billy Mercado, a top contributor, mentioned that despite the bearish movement, they multiplied their portfolio by 7x by following Clifford J. Adams, whom they consider a market genius.
Agatha Danjuma shared that life becomes easier when you are in the right place to make money, and they found financial freedom by investing with Crypto Sharon. (Possibly an unrelated scam.)
People who replied with a country name received a reply from Rejoice Fagbolagun, who encouraged them to message them on Messenger for more information about the platform.
Get in touch with our affiliated Bitcoin Forensic Investigators at CNC Intelligence for free by filling out the form below.
Another post was designed to trigger individuals to respond with “Yes” to the following proposition involving an online work opportunity from home with flexible hours. The details include the following:
- Time: 1-5 hours (Flexible hours)
- Income: $297 (daily)
- Age: Any age
- Education: No education is required
- Work: Work from home
- Requirements: Smartphone. “Freshers, students, housewives, anyone can work.”
If you are interested, they ask you to direct message them by saying “YES” to receive further details. The specific information will then be sent to your inbox.
We went ahead and initiated a conversation with Rejoice Fagbolagun.
The conversation suggests that Rejoice Fagbolagun lives in Miami, Florida, and works at Academy Of Binary – Pvt Ltd.
They asked if we had the Telegram application, provided us with a link to join a group chat, and instructed us to message the admin named “@KIARIACOLE” with a greeting like “hi” or “hello” immediately upon joining.
Please do not try this at home! Remember to exercise caution when clicking on links or joining unfamiliar online groups. It’s essential to ensure the legitimacy and safety of any website or group you interact with online.
Anyway, we found the user @Kiariacole, which appears to be a woman called “kiaria Cole,” who is “Devoted to forex trading and my family.”
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However, based on a Google search, Kiaria Cole apparently is a porn star and a TV personality from Carbondale, Illinois, United States.
But this person, who claimed to be called Kiaria Cole, and I discussed the investment opportunity. Here is a detailed summary of the conversation:
Kiaria Cole explained that trades are being made via IQ OPTIONS, an EU-regulated binary options online brokerage. They further explain that all we need to do is make a deposit and wait for profit, which will be available by the same time the following day.
Kiaria Cole informed us that all payments are made via a crypto wallet.
She welcomed us to their channel and explained their investment service. They mentioned that clients invest with them, and they trade on behalf of the clients using an automated auxiliary strategy to generate daily profits. The profits are sent to the clients within a 24-hour time phase.
Kiaria Cole introduced an ongoing promo where an additional $500 is added to investors’ profit and investment. They provided a list of investment amounts and corresponding returns, mentioning that the promo amount of $500 is added to the total. The returns range from $5,500 to $100,000, depending on the investment amount.
They clarified that the payout is guaranteed within 24 hours, and for their profit share, they take 30%, leaving the remaining 70% for the investor, which they deem fair.
Regarding payment, Kiaria Cole mentioned options such as CashApp and Bitcoin wallet. They provide contact information and encourage us to contact them for further details.
Kiaria Cole stated that these are their investment services and asked us which investment option we would like to start with.
We didn’t want to be scammed, so we opted out.
EARN WITH KIARIACOLE – Telegram Group
The Telegram Group EARN WITH KIARIACOLE had 1671 subscribers.
Telegram Group Description –
Welcome 😊 to this group. Our purpose is to help many people achieve great success and financial progress.
I assure you, this will be the best thing that will ever happen in your life.
The Pinned Post promotes an investment opportunity with Kiariacole. It claims to have successfully paid various amounts in USDT (USD Tether) to investors on May 30th, 2023. The post includes links to Ethereum transactions on Etherscan, showcasing the payments made. The message is to encourage people to invest in Kiariacole to earn money.
The group administrator, Kiaria Cole, communicates with members through various messages promoting their services and providing updates on payouts to investors.
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Recent Group Activity
Here is a sample of the group’s recent activities:
- Kiaria Cole thanks the group members for their positive feedback and assures them they will continue working towards their success (5/26/2023, 4:02 AM).
- They share an album showcasing the payouts made to investors, emphasizing the platform’s reliability and encouraging others to set up their investments (5/26/2023, 4:06 AM, 4:10 AM, 4:14 AM).
- Kiaria Cole thanks members again for their feedback and encourages them to trust the platform. They urge interested individuals to contact the admin for more information and to start investing (5/26/2023, 4:16 AM, 4:19 AM).
- The group shares several trades made and their outcomes, highlighting successful trades and promoting their accuracy in trading signals (5/26/2023, 5:08 PM, 5:20 PM, 5:21 PM, 5:22 PM).
- They announce an ongoing promotion where an additional $500 is added to investors’ profits, providing a list of investment amounts and corresponding returns (5/26/2023, 5:23 PM).
- Kiaria Cole shares blockchain transaction links as proof of successful payouts to investors, encouraging them to check their wallets and provide feedback (5/26/2023, 11:00 PM, 11:01 PM).
- The group congratulates investors on their successful payments and encourages them to continue earning profits. They urge investors to contact the admin to set up their trades (5/26/2023, 11:01 PM).
- Another album is shared, showcasing the day’s payouts to investors and reiterating the platform’s reliability (5/27/2023, 11:12 PM).
- Kiaria Cole emphasizes that the platform keeps its word and encourages members to invest in maintaining earnings (5/27/2023, 11:12 PM).
Overall, the Telegram group is focused on promoting investment opportunities and trading services, with the administrator providing updates on successful trades and payouts to investors.
They also emphasize the reliability of their platform and encourage members to participate in the investment program.
There are some potential red flags in the messages provided.
Here are a few aspects that might raise concerns:
- Unsolicited messages: The initial message was a random contact, a common tactic scammers use to target individuals.
- High-profit promises: The group advertises significant returns on investments within a short period, which can be unrealistic and potentially indicative of a scam. Promises of guaranteed profits should be approached with caution.
- Lack of transparency: The group does not provide detailed information about their trading strategies or the individuals behind the platform. Transparency is essential when considering investment opportunities.
- Payment via crypto wallet: Requiring payments exclusively through a cryptocurrency wallet can make tracking or recovering funds difficult if any issues arise. Scammers often prefer untraceable payment methods.
- Pressure to invest quickly: The repeated emphasis on investing immediately and the mention of limited-time promotions can be tactics used to create a sense of urgency and pressure individuals into making impulsive decisions.
It is always recommended to conduct thorough research, exercise caution, and consult with financial professionals before engaging in any investment opportunity.
Additionally, be wary of individuals or groups promising high returns with minimal risk, as it is often a hallmark of potential scams.
With its promise of fast, easy, and encrypted communication, Telegram is understandably popular among users worldwide.
Its features, such as group chats with up to 200,000 members, secret chats with self-destructing messages, and complete user anonymity, offer a unique platform for legitimate and illegitimate activities.
These attributes can make it particularly attractive to investment scammers who utilize its features to prey on unsuspecting victims.
The Trap: Unregulated Channels and Fake Investment Schemes
Given its decentralized nature and the lack of strict regulatory oversight, Telegram is home to many unregulated channels.
These channels often masquerade as investment platforms promising high returns.
Typically, these schemes take on the semblance of legitimacy, using professional language and showcasing testimonies of successful investments.
The scammer may present a convincing narrative about their investment strategy, often involving cryptocurrencies or forex trading.
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They will promise high returns in an unrealistically short time and require a minimum deposit.
However, once the victim transfers their funds, the scammer will usually cut off communication or even delete the entire channel, leaving the victim at a loss.
Impersonation Scams: When Trust is Betrayed
Impersonation scams are a prevalent type of fraud on Telegram, where scammers create accounts that closely mimic those of legitimate entities or individuals to exploit the trust of unsuspecting users. These entities can range from cryptocurrency exchanges and banks to famous personalities.
The scammer usually crafts a near-identical profile using the same profile picture and similar usernames. They then send messages to potential victims, often requesting sensitive personal information, passwords, or direct payments. The victims, believing they are interacting with the authentic account, may unknowingly hand over crucial information or money to the scammer.
Admin impersonation is another prevalent scamming technique. Scammers may claim to be admins or moderators in large group chats or channels. They might try to “resolve issues” or “offer assistance,” usually leading to requests for payments or sensitive information. It’s crucial to remember that genuine admins will never ask for such data in private chats.
Pump and Dump Cryptocurrency Scams
Pump and dump schemes are market manipulation tactics that have found a new home in cryptocurrencies.
Typically, these scams work by artificially inflating (or “pumping”) the price of a lesser-known or low-valued cryptocurrency through coordinated buying and misleading promotional activities. This increased demand and subsequent price rise attract unsuspecting investors seeking to capitalize on the “next big thing.”
Once the price reaches a certain point, the scam orchestrators “dump,” or sell, their holdings at this artificially high price. The sudden sell-off usually causes the price to plummet, leaving the unsuspecting investors with worthless, or at least significantly devalued, assets.
The Role of Telegram in Facilitating Cryptocurrency Scams
Telegram’s vast reach and anonymity features make it an attractive platform for those orchestrating pump-and-dump scams.
Scammers typically operate through dedicated Telegram groups or channels, sharing “inside information” about potential pump-and-dump opportunities. The organizers often employ aggressive marketing tactics to lure more participants into the scheme, promising high returns quickly.
Given the pseudonymous nature of cryptocurrencies and the privacy-centric design of Telegram, the orchestrators of these schemes can often avoid being tracked or held accountable. This makes it even more critical for investors to be cautious and conduct thorough due diligence before jumping onto investment tips from unknown sources on Telegram.
It’s important to remember that if an investment opportunity sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
Phishing Scams: The Oldest Trick in the Book
Phishing is a typical cyberattack where scammers trick victims into revealing sensitive information such as passwords, credit card numbers, or social security numbers.
On Telegram, these scams often take the form of messages or emails posing as reputable organizations, such as banks, payment services, or even Telegram itself. They typically contain a call to action, urging the recipient to click a link, download a file, or provide personal information. These links often lead to fake login pages that capture and steal user credentials.
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Similarly, downloaded files may contain malware to infiltrate the victim’s device and steal information.
Recognizing the Signs of a Phishing Scam on Telegram
Here are some signs to look out for to avoid falling victim to phishing scams on Telegram:
- Urgent or threatening language in the message: Scammers often try to create a sense of urgency or panic to push you into action before you have time to think or verify the information.
- Hyperlinks: A link may not be what it appears to be. Hovering over the link can reveal the URL, which may look odd or unfamiliar.
- Requests for personal information: Legitimate companies will never ask for sensitive data through Telegram or other messaging platforms.
- Poor grammar and spelling: While not always the case, messages from scammers often contain poor grammar and spelling errors.
- Unsolicited contact: Be suspicious of any unsolicited messages or calls. If you didn’t initiate the contact, be careful.
Remember, vigilance and skepticism are your best defenses against phishing scams. It’s better to delete the message or block the sender when in doubt.
Lottery Scams: The Deception of Easy Winnings
Lottery scams are a classic form of fraud that has been adapted to various online platforms, including Telegram. They typically start with an unexpected message informing you that you’ve won a large sum of money or valuable goods in a lottery, sweepstake, or other prize draw.
Of course, there’s a catch: to claim your “winnings,” you’ll need to pay a small fee, provide personal information, or both. As is often the case with scams, it probably is if it seems too good to be true.
How these Scams Operate on Telegram
On Telegram, lottery scams usually come as direct messages from unknown accounts or can be posted in various groups. The scammers often impersonate well-known companies with logos and seemingly official documents to make the scheme appear legitimate.
The message will likely congratulate you on your unexpected win and provide instructions to claim your prize. These instructions invariably involve paying a “processing fee” or “taxes” upfront or sharing sensitive information like your bank account details.
While the prospect of winning a substantial prize can be exciting, it’s crucial to remember that legitimate lotteries rarely require payment to claim a prize, and they certainly won’t notify winners through Telegram. The rule of thumb is simple: if you don’t remember entering a lottery or competition, you can’t have won it.
Tips and Measures to Avoid Scams on Telegram
Ensuring the proper security and privacy settings on Telegram is the first step in protecting yourself from scams.
Here are some basic settings to keep in mind:
- Two-Step Verification: To prevent unauthorized access to your account, enable Two-Step Verification under the “Privacy and Security” settings. This adds an extra layer of protection to your account, even if someone gets hold of your password.
- Privacy Settings: Customize who can add you to group chats and who can view your profile picture and last seen status. It’s advisable to limit these to “My Contacts” only.
Identifying and Reporting Suspicious Activities
Be aware of red flags, such as unsolicited messages from strangers, requests for sensitive information, or too-good-to-be-true offers.
If you receive a message from someone pretending to be a company or service provider, cross-check the information independently – do not click on any provided links.
If you come across suspicious activity, use the ‘Report’ button in Telegram to bring it to the attention of the platform’s administrators.
Ensuring Safe Online Interactions on Telegram
Here are some additional precautions you can take:
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- Be Skeptical: Approach unsolicited messages and offers skeptically, especially those promising significant returns or prizes.
- Verify Information: Do not rely solely on information provided over Telegram, especially from unknown contacts. Independently verify any claims or offers.
- Avoid Sharing Sensitive Information: Never share sensitive personal or financial information on Telegram or any other messaging platform.
- Use Trusted Sources: Only use trusted, verified sources for information, especially regarding financial matters or news.
By understanding and implementing these precautions, you can make your experience on Telegram safer and avoid falling victim to scams.
Complaints we have received
On June 19, 2023, we received the following complaint from a person from Indiana, USA, who reported losing 22,000 for a Telegram scam:
They told me I could receive my profit once I paid the fee, but now they are requesting additional funds in order to withdraw it.
While the complaint does not contain much information, it’s pretty clear that this scenario can be classified as an investment scam on Telegram. The scam typically involves enticing individuals with promises of profits or high investment returns. Initially, they are asked to pay a fee to participate, but then they are requested to provide additional funds to withdraw the supposed profits. This tactic often deceives victims into continuously investing more money without receiving any actual returns.
On September 23, 2023, we received the following complaint:
For a nominal fee, I joined a Telegram group called ‘Binance Exchange’. I was promised a payment of USD 500 but ended up being scammed. The scammer deleted my Telegram account, so I don’t have any screenshots to share as evidence. My concern is that I also shared this information with friends and family.
On October 7, 2023, we received the following complaint from a person who reported losing 130,000 PKR (Pakistani Rupee):
I fell victim to a scam involving a group called “UBS working group” on Telegram. They first approached me through a WhatsApp number starting with the +1 code, which I believe might be from the U.S.
Here’s a step-by-step account of what transpired:
- I was instructed to watch a YouTube video, hit the ‘like’ button, and then send a screenshot as proof.
- After completing the task, I received 600 in my Easypaisa account.
- Next, they advised me to download the Telegram app and contact their receptionist.
- Once I contacted her, she added me to the UBS group on Telegram.
- I was informed about six courses inside the group, which I was told to complete sequentially to earn rewards.
- They instructed me to download and connect the Binance app to their website. Here’s the link they provided: ubsgroupot.com.
- The group then presented various investment plans. Initially, I was asked to deposit 9 dollars and 30 dollars.
- The group subsequently asked for a 320-dollar investment to complete a course. I made the deposit, but after doing so, they did not award me any reward and deemed my attempt at the task a failure. I followed all instructions given by a tutor named Tracy, but she misguided me, losing my deposited amount.
- They’re insisting that I deposit an additional 500 dollars to complete the course.
On October 23, 2023, one of our partners received the following complaint from a person who reported being scammed for $50:
This is on Telegram, and his profile name is Grim. He asked me to send $50 worth of Bitcoin, and then he would send me $500 to my PayPal.
Recently, we received the following complaint from a person who reported being scammed for 55 USDT:
A company named FEVER/US30 KILLER contacted me on Telegram, asking me to invest in their business. The CEO, Ella Moss, initially asked me to invest $20 in USDT. After I made this investment, she told me that to receive my profits through a bank transfer, I needed to pay a $50 fee, which I also paid. However, after making this payment, she stated that it was insufficient due to bank transfer fees and I would need to pay an additional 10,000 INR for clearance to receive my payment.
I have complied with all these requests, but now she is asking for an additional $150 as a finalization fee related to the duration of my trading account. She assures me that this will enable the direct receipt of payments to my wallet.
She also assured me that my investments in the company are secure and encrypted under the complete surveillance of various regulatory bodies such as the Social Security Administration (SSA), Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), and Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC).
I have kept all proof of transactions and conversation screenshots. Here are some details for reference:
Email Address: email@example.com
Telegram ID: @ELLA_MOSSS
Cryptocurrency Wallet Addresses:
BEP 20: 0xa8Dea9A03021FBCF16cCacF32F6b243a2C7F734B
Trust Wallet: bc1qft682flsrw9jyfer64ztz68n3kz3pnpt8szld3
On October 29, 2023, we received the following complaint:
I am writing to seek assistance in recovering an investment that I and my friends made, which totals $2470. We invested this amount through Janny Joy, who communicated with us via Telegram and email. Janny promised that our profit, along with the initial investment, would be returned after 10 hours. Unfortunately, despite our investments and the promises made, we haven’t received any returns. This situation has caused significant financial distress for my friends, as we are already facing financial challenges. The individual, Janny Joy, communicated with us using the email address firstname.lastname@example.org and through Telegram.
Conclusion: Staying Safe in the Digital Communication Age
Telegram can be a great tool, but it is not without risks.
By being aware of Telegram scams, you can protect yourself from falling for them.
If you are already a victim of an online scam, please share your story.
If you are a victim of a Telegram scam, please let us know by commenting below, and if you have lost a significant amount of money to online scams, do not lose hope. We can help you recover your funds!