Telegram has risen to popularity as a free messaging service that’s secure, fast, and social. As a result of this popularity, Telegram spam is on the rise. Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to fight back.
In our experience, the vast majority of Telegram spammers use large established groups to cast a wide net for potential victims. Telegram groups can hold up to 200,000 members, so the platform is ripe for exploitation in this way.
By default, Telegram allows anyone to add you to a group, even if you don’t know them. By changing this one setting, you can dramatically cut down on the number of spam messages you are exposed to.
Launch Telegram on your mobile device and tap on the Settings tab. Tap on Privacy and Security > Groups & Channels and change “Who Can Add Me” to “My Contacts” only. Going forward, only people you have added to your Telegram contacts will be able to add you to a group by invite.
Telegram attempts to make it easy for your friends to find you using your phone number. By default, everyone can find you using your number. This means that if your phone number has appeared in a data breach, spammers can add it to their lists and identify you as a Telegram user.
You can take measures to avoid this happening. Open Telegram and tap on the Settings tab. Tap on Privacy and Security > Phone Number and change “Who Can Find Me By My Phone Number” to “My Contacts” only. Now only people who appear in your contacts already will be able to see you have a Telegram account.
While you’re there you might want to change “Who Can See My Phone Number” to “Nobody” to further lock down your account and protect your data.
If you do get targeted by a spammer, you can use the “Report” option under the ellipsis “…” icon in the top-right corner of the screen to send the messages to Telegram support. You can also block individual users to prevent them from sending you messages at all under the same menu.
Telegram is a powerful chat tool, but it pays to know how to best use. Make sure you know how to start an encrypted chat, how to send self-destructing messages, and how to sign up and use the service anonymously.
If Telegram isn’t for you, consider giving Signal a shot instead.
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