Discord is rapidly growing, and as more users join the hot messaging app, more scammers and nefarious players follow.
Scammers abound online. They’re impossible to avoid altogether. However, multiple ways exist to protect yourself and your loved ones from people attempting to take advantage.
Discord may have a bad reputation as unsafe, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. The problems on Discord are similar to those on other social media sites; with a few precautions, users can avoid all the potential dangers.
Here’s how to stay safe while using Discord.
Why Discord Safety is Important
Discord safety is vital because online security is essential. Although not any more dangerous than any other messaging app or social media platform, Discord does have dangers.
Nefarious players lurk in Discord, waiting to scam unsuspecting victims out of their hard-earned money. Discord also offers unique safety challenges, as some private servers can become breeding grounds for extremism or indecent behavior.
How Discord Promotes Safety
Discord, as a company, is well aware of the dangers lurking in hidden corners of the internet. They take great efforts to keep their platform safe by issuing warnings for inappropriate conduct and banning the worst users and servers.
Each quarter, Discord publishes a transparency report highlighting some of the company’s most aggressive actions to keep its platforms free of bad behavior.
However, Discord can’t catch everything. The app has millions of users and private servers, an essential feature that makes Discord great but one that can also hide harmful content.
What Should I Avoid on Discord?
It’s nearly impossible to stumble upon a server used to share outrageous content, so most users shouldn’t worry about that aspect. If you discover a server with questionable content, it’s best to report it and its owners to Discord and move along.
The most common place people try to scam you on Discord is via direct message (DM).
How to Prevent Discord Scams
Most Discord scams can be prevented with discretion and general online safety tips. Here are the best ways to keep yourself safe on the messaging app.
Remember Giveaways Aren’t Always Real
One of the most common scams is the Discord Nitro scam. A Bot will message unsuspecting users, telling them they’ve been gifted a free Discord Nitro subscription. The unsuspecting user will click the link, allowing nefarious bots to access their account.
These scams aren’t limited to Discord Nitro. You may have “won” free crypto, NFTs, gift cards, gaming skins, or other prizes.
Remember, you will never win a contest you didn’t enter. If you “won” something and don’t remember entering, it’s likely a scam.
Read Next: How Discord Excels at the Emoji Game
Protect Your Personal Information
Scammers can access your account with the smallest amount of personal information. Carefully guard your full name, street address, place of employment, phone number, and sensitive information like bank and credit card accounts.
Phishers will send links in servers and DMs asking users to fill out forms or create fun games that slyly convince people to give this information up.
A common meme on Facebook makes giving your information fun. Share the color of your shirt + the street you grew up on – it’s your Viking name!
Of course, the creator just wanted folks to share the name of the street they grew up on, as that’s a standard security question.
Be discerning in the memes you reply to and the forms you fill out to ensure you aren’t giving bad players your personal information.
Know How Companies Will Contact You
The likelihood that a legitimate company will contact you with a pressing concern over Discord (or any online platform) is slim to none.
Much like email social security scams, Discord scammers pose as workers from legitimate companies and target users through DM. They’ll ask for payments, account verifications, personal information, or anything they can get from you.
If you aren’t sure whether a DM is legitimate, close Discord (don’t click any links!) and do a web search for the company. Find their customer support number, and call them. Don’t complete transactions over the platform.
Keep in mind that most legitimate companies won’t contact you over Discord.
Be Careful with Friends
The most insidious Discord DM scam is the friendship scam. These scammers play the long game, pretending to be friends for weeks or months before striking. Be wary of folks DMing you out of the blue, sending funny messages, and being overly friendly.
It’s vital to be discerning, even with folks who appear to be friends. Discord is great because it allows us to communicate with people worldwide and develop friendships with folks who share interests across geographies, but not everyone is interested in being friends.
Regardless of how close you feel you have become to someone over Discord, remember that you’ve never met this person in real life. Don’t send them money, offer to pay their bills, or sign up for anything they share with you without conducting your own research and verification.
Verify, Verify, Verify
It’s good practice to verify everything, both on Discord and online in general.
Did you get a DM from a real-life friend asking you to share suspicious information? Give them a call and ask what it’s about.
When you get DMS saying you won something, do a google search about the giveaway or the company involved to see whether it’s legitimate.
Verify everything you do in Discord before clicking on links or accepting friend requests from folks you don’t know.
Protecting Your Discord Account
Some scammers get into Discord by hacking other people’s user accounts. To protect your account, use a strong password that’s difficult to guess, and sign up for two-factor authentication. Make it hard for hackers to access your friend list and your servers.
While logged into Discord, you can change your privacy and security settings to avoid harmful messages. Discord can automatically scan all DMS, a significant first step in avoiding spammy content.
Protecting Your Discord Server
Discord server owners face unique challenges. Owners are responsible for creating a safe environment for users, so must work to keep their servers free from spam and their community members safe from harm.
The first step to protecting your server is installing a moderation bot. Bot integration is one of the best features of Discord. Users have created bots to do nearly anything you can imagine, like intergrating with Twitter or Reddit, playing games, and, of course, moderating content.
A moderation bot like MEE6 can be customized to prevent spam, restrict messages with harmful words and content, and ban users from accessing the server.
Server owners should also view their server security settings. Discord gives owners numerous options for protecting their community, including restricting access to those with 2FA enabled, filtering explicit content, and disallowing server raids. Each of these options is customizable, so as an owner its vital to decide how secure you want your community to be.
Is Discord Safe for Children?
Discord is not safe for young children. Discord’s terms of service restrict users under 13 from using the platform. However, there is no age verification process, so younger children often sign up, with or without their parent’s approval.
Discord is safe for children 13 and up, with parental consent and moderation. Even adults get scammed or led down dangerous paths in Discord, so parents must take steps to keep their kids safe.
Children on Discord: How Parents Can Protect Their Children
Here are some best ways parents can promote Discord safety with their children.
Although kids want and need privacy, it’s okay to set certain restrictions regarding online privacy. You should monitor your child’s online activity to ensure they stay safe and do not fall into dangerous rabbit holes.
Each parent needs to decide how and when to monitor their child’s online activity. Ensure to balance their growing privacy needs versus the dangers of the online world.
Children’s accounts should have the strictest privacy settings enabled. Enable the “keep me safe” setting that scans every message and restricts DMs from people you don’t know.
Unfortunately, Discord has no parental controls, so you must monitor to ensure the safety settings remain how you set them.
Discuss Dangerous Content
The best way to keep your child safe online is to have an ongoing discussion about online safety and dangerous content.
Communicate with your child about what they may find online, including extremism, grooming, bullying, and other difficult subjects. Build trust with them throughout their life, so they know they can come to you if they see something suspicious online. Give them the tools to discuss inappropriate behavior, and never make them feel like they’re “wrong” or “bad” for seeing it or being targeted.
This type of parental communication is vital in our growing world of interconnectivity.
Kimberly King, author, and authority on sexual abuse prevention, says communicating with your children about online predators is critical to ensuring their safety. “An educated and empowered family is an unattractive target for an abuser,” she said, adding that parents should encourage open discussion about what’s happening online.
Parenting expert Victoria Cornell from Motherhood, Life, Balance agrees, advising users to “Be open with your kids. Have frequent conversations with them around the topic. By making it a regular occurrence, they’ll be more likely to watch out for it and feel comfortable coming to you.”
She said these conversations could apply to everything kids may be exposed to online, including bullying, grooming, or radicalization attempts.
Limit Their Discord Time and Access
It’s much easier to get sucked into a nasty rabbit hole when you spend hours upon hours on a platform. To keep your kids safe, limit the amount of time they spend on Discord. Allow them access for a few hours each night, and make sure they can’t log on when they’re supposed to be sleeping or at school.
Don’t allow them to have the mobile app, limit their usage to the desktop. Keep tabs on which servers they join, and ensure they have your approval to enter any new communities.
Teach Online Safety
Discord safety isn’t much different than typical online safety. Every platform has scammers and nefarious players.
Ensure your kids understand the dangers lurking online, from phishing to abuse. Talk with them about the importance of keeping personal and financial information safe, tell them that not everyone they meet online is good, and make sure they have a healthy relationship with the online world.
Web safety, in general, is vital to keeping kids safe on Discord.
Discord is a Great Platform
Despite the safety challenges, Discord is a great platform. It allows users to build communities with people worldwide who share similar interests and helps make the vast world a tiny bit smaller.
Discord allows us to connect, share ideas, engage, and communicate across oceans, time zones, and cultural barriers.
Don’t let the potential dangers inherent in most online platforms deter you from enjoying the positive aspects Discord offers.
Melanie launched Partners in Fire in 2017 to document her quest for financial independence with a mix of finance, fun, and solving the world’s problems. She’s self educated in personal finance and passionate about fighting systematic problems that prevent others from achieving their own financial goals. She also loves travel, anthropology, gaming and her cats.