Learn it proper! Learn how to spot scams on Reddit

Because the world’s 18th most visited website and seventh most frequented social community, it’s no shock that Reddit additionally holds nice attract for cybercriminals. Apart from an infinite variety of reputable subreddits, cute alien footage in addition to annual April Idiot’s day occasions, Redditors can also encounter varied sorts of fakery on the positioning, together with scams which might be after their information and cash.

On this blogpost, we’ll have a look at just a few widespread forms of fraud that you need to look out for when utilizing a platform that till lately billed itself as “the front page of the Internet”.


Phishing is usually probably the most prevalent forms of cyberattacks. Usually, it takes the type of an e mail or textual content message that poses as a reputable request on your login credentials, bank card info or different private information.

On Reddit, this type of rip-off is unfold principally by way of non-public messages that discussion board moderators can’t learn, which alone makes it simpler for criminals to trick victims into clicking on doubtful hyperlinks and giving up their login credentials or downloading malware onto their gadgets.

In some phishing assaults, scammers ship an enormous variety of messages which might be typically linked to present occasions and abuse, for instance, group activism, similar to when Reddit customers who intend to collect for a protest might all of a sudden obtain a pretend hyperlink for the occasion.

To recognize phishinglearn the entire message fastidiously, search for grammar errors, examine the sender, and take note of hyperlinks and sudden attachments. If the area appears reputable however one thing about it feels off, you might be most likely the goal of a phishing marketing campaign.

RELATED READING: Common LinkedIn scams: Beware of phishing attacks and fake job offers

Spear phishing

This focused and extra subtle model of phishing depends on messages which might be specifically tailor-made for one particular person or a gaggle of individuals, similar to workers of an organization. Energetic Redditors who reveal an excessive amount of about their lives in subreddits and even on different websites could also be notably inclined to this assault.

On a facet notice, a Reddit employee also fell for a targeted phishing scam in February 2023, which led to a safety breach that permit the attackers entry worker information. The attackers had despatched pretend company messages to Reddit workers that pointed them to a phishing web site resembling Reddit’s intranet gateway. The worker unwittingly gave away his login credentials, which allowed the scammers to achieve entry to the positioning’s inner paperwork, code, dashboards and enterprise techniques.

Faux subreddits

Reddit’s core function is its capability to let folks create their very own dialogue areas often called “subreddits”, that are then overseen by moderators who make it possible for customers comply with the foundations.

This finally creates an setting the place these dialogue boards achieve person belief. Nonetheless, scammers at all times search for methods to take advantage of this belief, utilizing bots that spawn new subreddits the place principally every thing is pretend – moderators, subredditors and posts lifted from reputable sources. The pretend subreddits typically fake to be crypto buying and selling boards, with their moderators impersonating reputable merchants.

Charity scams

Some Reddit boards are devoted to charitable causes. Sadly, they might additionally change into breeding grounds for scams because the subreddits appeal to fraudsters who pose as reputable charity providers and prey on the empathy of kind-hearted folks.

For instance, scammers have been noticed to abuse the r/Assistance subreddit, the place folks search or request assist in varied life conditions. In April 2020, its admins warned about scammers utilizing pretend profiles with CashApp tags starting with $SuperGo**** or $Falco****** that impersonated reputable help for transferring cash to folks in want. Nonetheless, a variety of well-intentioned unknowingly despatched cash to the fraudsters.

RELATED READING: Cash App fraud: 10 common scams to watch out for

“When giving, if you receive a PM from someone you believe you have been speaking with on an r/Assistance post—be sure to click through to their profile and verify that you’re messaging with the correct person before you send any assistance,” r/Assistance moderators wrote in a cautionary message in response to the ploy.

Charity rip-off alert (Supply: Reddit)

Scamming folks in want

Actually, some scams additionally contain fraudsters attempting to steal cash even from individuals who don’t have a lot of it and are asking for assist.

“This scammer makes and uses random, low-karma accounts that have very little, or no activity. They reach out privately to struggling users who have recently made requests and promise help, ask users for their banking information, or offer a check that ultimately will be returned—leaving the requester’s account in the negative,” reads a submit within the r/Assistance subreddit.

One of many targets described the assault as a right away response to her Reddit submit. “Gosh, these scammers work fast! I posted something on the epilepsy subreddit about my mounting medical bills and moments later got a PM from wilstonb offering me a work from home job. ‘I can be of help financially with your debts’,” she wrote.

FURTHER READING: 8 common work-from-home scams to avoid


Reddit can also be standard among the many cryptocurrency group, catering to individuals who comply with the most recent tendencies within the crypto area and search recommendation on buying and selling crypto.

Nonetheless, these Redditors typically voice their frustrations about messages that promise to double their investments or promote new currencies that assure unrealistically excessive earnings. These messages typically come from organized teams which have obtained an enormous quantity of “shitcoins”, i.e. cryptocurrencies of low worth, and attempt to promote them at inflated costs utilizing on-line advertising campaigns. These “shills” typically invade any standard cryptocurrency subreddit and annoy customers.

To protect your self from these scams, stick with a simple precept: Query something that appears too good to be true. If any person affords you extravagant earnings or refunds on your losses, report them to the discussion board’s admins.

RELATED READING: Crypto scams: What to know and how to protect yourself

Now on to 2 completely different sorts of fakery.

Spam and upvoting rings

Spamming is a critical subject on Reddit, one that’s exacerbated by well-organized teams that abuse the positioning’s voting system, create fabricated and presumably dangerous content material after which advertise on Reddit with the assistance of pretend accounts. They promote clickbait articles with attention-grabbing headlines, however what you land on as a substitute is poorly written content material and a great deal of adverts. Regardless of missing any substance, these articles amass loads of upvotes and optimistic feedback, which pushes them to high positions of the subreddit’s entrance web page.

There’s a thriving marketplace for Reddit upvotes, with costs starting from $20 to $50 per 1,000 votes. For those who come throughout a promoted article with an related hyperlink that each appear suspicious, don’t click on on it – report it to the subreddit’s admins as a substitute.

Karma farming

Reddit depends on a karma system to differentiate between real and fraudulent accounts, however scammers have discovered how one can bypass it. They arrange accounts copy and paste older reputable content material from Reddit, boosting their very own karma rating and posing as reputable customers.

In its Transparency Report 2022Reddit revealed that admins and moderators eliminated 4% of content material posted on the positioning in 2022. An awesome 80% of those removals had been attributed to spam, notably karma farming.

The emergence of AI-driven chatbots late final yr made the state of affairs much more troublesome. In December 2022, the moderators of the favored r/AskHistorians subreddit observed posts that they had been clearly generated with the assistance of AI, Vice reported.

Figuring out that the bot’s spammy solutions had been produced with ChatGPT wasn’t the issue – it was “that they were coming in so fast and so quick,” Sarah Gilbert, one of many discussion board’s moderators and a postdoctoral affiliate at Cornell College advised Vice.

On the peak of the assault, the discussion board was banning 75 accounts per day, over the course of three days. Earlier than the pretend accounts had been shut down, they managed to unfold adverts for some online game.


In at present’s digital age, scams have discovered their means into varied corners of the web, together with standard platforms similar to Reddit and different social media websites. Preserve your vigilance whereas utilizing the positioning, watch out for unsolicited messages and hyperlinks, query something that sounds too good to be true, and by no means overshare your private info.

Usually educate your self concerning the newest schemes and keep up to date on cybersecurity finest practices. Information is your strongest protection in opposition to scams. By remaining vigilant and cautious, you may get pleasure from what Reddit and different social media platforms have to supply whereas safeguarding your self from fraud.

Date: 2023-09-13 10:31:14

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Alina A, Toronto
Alina A, Torontohttp://alinaa-cybersecurity.com
Alina A, an UofT graduate & Google Certified Cyber Security analyst, currently based in Toronto, Canada. She is passionate for Research and to write about Cyber-security related issues, trends and concerns in an emerging digital world.


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