We understand what a pain it can be to manage and moderate a Discord server, especially ones that experience huge growth in a short period of time. As such, we recommend checking out these useful tips for spotting Discord scams (and ways to prevent them from popping up on your server).
Regular users should follow the advice below to experience Discord in the safest way possible.
Cover Your Bases with Discord’s Privacy Settings
Discord has quite a few built-in tools to ward off spammers and scammers. All of these options can be found by going to your user settings and clicking on Privacy & Safety, by the way. Here’s a summary of what you should change to keep cyber threats off your back:
- Set “Safe direct messaging” to “Keep me safe” to filter out explicit content and potentially unsafe links from your DMs.
- Turn off “Allow direct messages from server members” unless you’re just part of small, trustworthy communities. Larger servers may be infiltrated by spammers and spambots, so might as well block off any potentially unwanted messages. This can be changed on a server-by-server basis by clicking on the server name and choosing “Privacy Settings”.
- Select “Friends of Friends” in the “Who can add you as a friend” category to prevent requests from random strangers. Remember that you can always reject requests from people you don’t recognize, and block people that bother you on public servers.
Too Good to Be True? Don’t Click It
Most Discord scams involve freebies, giveaways, promo codes, and similar lures to get people interested. Here’s the catch – the “sign-up” pages are phishing domains designed to steal your personal information. To be fair, some of these scam DMs can look pretty legitimate. It seems Discord scammers actually bother proofreading their texts, as opposed to your average email spammer.
All jokes aside, never click on any suspicious links on Discord, especially if they’re not from a friend or a user you recognize. In fact, you should avoid giveaway links in general, as you never know if a friend’s account has been compromised by a hacker. You could also use a link checker like Google Transparency Report to see whether it’s safe to access.
Carefully check the URLs you see on a daily basis as well. Suspicious extensions (like .exe) at the end of a link are a telltale sign of malicious software masquerading as an image or other attachment. Malicious scripts can hide even in PDFs, ZIP files, Word documents, and other common file types.
Counter IP Grabbers with a VPN
While not a scam in itself, cyberstalkers can use IP-grabbing links and scripts to determine your real-life location. If you didn’t know already, your IP address contains info about your country, city, and ZIP code – which may aid Internet crazies in doxxing you.
Fortunately, VPNs can prevent that by hiding your real IP. They also assign you a new one, making you seem like you’re browsing the web from a different country. Great for your privacy and bypassing pesky geo-restrictions on platforms like YouTube, Netflix, and more.
On top of that, VPNs encrypt (scramble) all your network traffic, making it impossible for your ISP or hackers to see what you do online. It’s especially useful on public Wi-Fi, where hackers can eavesdrop on your bank transactions, online messaging, and other sensitive info.
Minimize How Much Info You Share Online
Yes, we know. Part of the fun of Discord is getting to know new and interesting people that share your interests. However, keep personal info between you and people you know in real life:
- Your real name and address
- Personal email(s) and phone number(s)
- Social media accounts – it may look cool on your profile, but connecting your Twitter and Steam accounts to Discord can expose you to doxxing attempts.
At the very least, don’t post such details on public channels. Stick to DMs with people you trust so you’re less likely to attract unwanted attention.
Take Advantage of Two-Factor Authentication (2FA)
Whether you use SMS, Google Authenticator, or Authy, adding 2FA to your Discord account can prevent unauthorized access in case a hacker gets ahold of your email and password. It only takes a couple of minutes to set up and doesn’t cost a thing, so do it sooner rather than later.
Extra Security Measures for Your Discord Account
While 2FA is a great way to keep your account safe, a better practice is to keep your account hacker-proof with the following tips:
- Use a password manager or randomizer to create a strong password that can’t be brute-forced. Those “pesky” notifications that say your password needs to contain upper-case and lower-case letters, a number, and a special character are there for a reason.
- Don’t use your main email account on Discord. Instead, use a service like ProtonMail or Tutanota for a free encrypted email that hackers can’t exploit for spamming purposes.
Naturally, you shouldn’t access Discord (or any other personal accounts) from a public computer, such as a library or electronics store. Even if you remember to log out afterward, you never know when such PCs are infected with keyloggers that can expose your sensitive data.
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