How to Send a Fake Donation on Twitch
There are three main ways that Twitch users utilize to send fake donations on Twitch;
While I will walk you through how to send fake donations, I’ll also give streamers tips on how to combat the fake Twitch donations and discuss how fake donations can backfire on the sender in the end.
How to Send a Fake Twitch Donation Through Chat Commands
To send a fake donation via chat, follow these steps:
Step 1: Change The Font Color of Your Username
When donations are given, the chat will display a message in red font. In order for you to create a message in red font, you must first change the color of your name. To do this, you will need Prime Gaming. Click your avatar, go to settings, then hit the “Prime Gaming” tab at the top of your screen. From that page, you will be able to change the display color of your name.
Step 2: Find a New Streamer
Most streamers will know right away if your donation is fake. As this is a “common joke,” many broadcasters will have received their first fake donation within the first week of streaming.
Step 3: Use the /Me Chat Command
The /me chat command will change the color of text that follows your name. For instance if your name is FakeTwitchDonator and you typed “/me is an ugly troll who is trying to scam streamers”, the following message will appear in chat:
FakeTwitchDonator is an ugly troll who is trying to scam streamers
The most common variables (after the /me command) that trolls use when sending fake chat donations are as follows:
- Just donated $100
- Donated $50 with the message, “I love your stream”
Step 4: Immediately Follow the Channel to Create an Alert Sound
If a streamer has set up Twitch alerts, there could be sounds associated with following, subscribing, and donating. Following the channel immediately after sending the fake donation will create a sound, making your fake donation seem more real.
You Can Also Use Bots
If you are tech savvy, you can create bot-minions to complete the above steps for you. The results are the same, but you can play the unassuming viewer from a different channel.
How to Combat Twitch Chat Command Donation Fraud
Fortunately, for streamers, this donation scam won’t potentially break the bank (though it may have broken your heart the first couple times it was used on you). There are a few things you can to combat these trolls and beat them at their own game:
1. Block the /Me Chat Command on Your Channel
Ban the /me command from their stream, either in the back end of Twitch or through your chatbot. Banning the command altogether ensures that trolls simply can’t use it against you.
2. Look at Your Stream Alerts for Donations, Not Your Chat
If a troll uses the /me command, a donation will not appear on your Stream alert UI. Open up your UI on your second screen or program it into your Stream Deck so that you can double-check your alerts. If a donation doesn’t show, you know that the one in chat is fake.
3. Use Different Sound Alerts for Followers, Subscribers, and Donations
Real donations are often accompanied by alert sounds (if you have set them up). Many “clever” trolls will immediately follow your stream after sending a fake donation to make it seem more real. You can combat this by setting up different sounds for each alert in your software.
4. Ignore the Fake Donator
Regardless of the reasons why they are there to send you a fake donation, they are looking for your reaction. They want you to either be excited or angry. They don’t want you to completely ignore them.
If you ignore them, they will either go away or try other ways to get you to acknowledge them. Depending on the severity of their subsequent actions, you should either continue to ignore them, mute them, or ban them from your stream.
How to Create Fake Twitch Donations with a Fake Virtual Credit Card
If the streamer is using a widget that take credit cards, you can send a fake donation using a fake virtual credit card. As you can imagine, using a fake credit card is illegal. If charged, you can typically face a fine of $1,000 and spend up to a year in jail.
You can find fake credit cards online, and create realistic donations on Twitch that will never go through. No, I will not tell you how.
How to Combat Fake Credit Card Donations on Twitch
There are a couple ways that you can combat fake credit card donations.
1. File a User Report With Twitch to Report Donation Fraud
Take screenshots of the donation and any other relevant information you can find pertaining to the fraud, then contact Twitch by filing a user report. Twitch should work with you to correct the situation either by banning the user’s IP address or by taking further steps to the proper authorities.
2. Only Accept PayPal or Cryptocurrency Twitch Donations
While there are issues with PayPal donations (I’ll cover those next), they are typically more difficult to fake than credit card donations. Donations made through crypto cannot be charged back or cancelled.
How Chargebacks Affect Twitch Donations on PayPal
If you make a donation with PayPal, you can wait up to 3 months to contact their support to file a chargeback claim by stating that you never received the service or products that you purchased. While this is a good way for you to show off a “real” donation on stream, it can cause the streamer a lot of potential problems, including:
- Chargeback fees
- Finding funds to cover your donation if it has already been spent
- Their own PayPal accounts being frozen due to “fraudulent activities”
When experiencing these headaches multiple times, many streamers will become discouraged and may quit broadcasting altogether. Don’t kill Twitch.
How to Stop Fake PayPal Donations
Unfortunately, there isn’t anything to guarantee that PayPal will side with you as they did with streamers involved in the Anthony Archer case. There are a few things you can do to try to help the situation:
1. Keep Clear Records of PayPal Donations
Have a spreadsheet of PayPal Donations. Include the following information:
- The date the donation was made (and the timestamp on the stream)
- The name of the user who donated
- The amount donated
- A screenshot of the donation
This way, when dealing with a chargeback, you’ll be able to quickly find the information you need to fight it. While PayPal may not be able to help (and you may need to use your bank to waive charge-back fees), being able to quickly show proof of the donation will help your case.
2. Do Not Use or Withdraw PayPal Donations for 3 or More Months
Using the spreadsheet above will help you ensure that you don’t touch PayPal donations for more than 3 months. After the viewer can no longer create a chargeback, you’ll know that the gift was real and you can use it to cover expenses or upgrade your gaming chair.
While it may be hard to wait three months to “receive your paycheck,” it is better to be patient than to have to scramble for funds you no longer have. Look at PayPal donations as a long-term payoff.
3. Only Accept Guaranteed Donations
If you don’t want to risk having to deal with chargebacks or fake donations, choose to only accept tips through Twitch bits and Subscriptions. All you need to start earning from both is your Twitch Affiliate status. With some proper planning and networking ahead of time, you can reach this status in as little as a week.
Dealing with Other Donation Fraud
While there are a few other less-common ways that people send fake Twitch Donations, you can often combat them through the third-party software in which the donations were made. For instance, Streamlabs has a post recommending what to do in the event that someone commits fraud using their software.
The good news is, that as awareness grows, companies are more likely to work with streamers to either waive chargeback fees or simply not return funds to the scammer. That being said, learn to wait to cash in on your earnings.
Do Fake Donations Still Exist on Twitch?
Yes, you can make a fake donation on Twitch. There are a few methods on how you scam a streamer by pretending to donate to them, utilizing three major tools – chat, fake credit cards, and chargebacks. Trolls and cyberbullies have found ways to make a donation seem real, and unfortunately, Twitch hasn’t been able to keep up with finding ways to protect streamers from them.
How Fake Twitch Donations Can Backfire
As more cases are being won, trolls are being held responsible for the donations they made. One of the biggest for streamers was when Anthony Archer (iNexus_Ninja) was denied chargebacks of his $50,000 in fake donations. With fake donations becoming more common and mainstream, it is likely that PayPal and credit card companies will favor streamers more in the future.
Creating Fake Twitch Donations is Illegal
While creating a fake donation is technically illegal, it is still difficult for a streamer to prove the fraudulent activity. As there were no goods that passed hands, financial institutions will often side with the fake-donator when charge-backs are made.
Fake Twitch Donations Can Hurt a Streamer Financially
If a streamer is relying on donations for their livelihood, they will often spend their tips right away. When the donation is charged back, not only will the amount donated be removed, but there is often a fee associated with the removal. Additional fees can also sometimes occur if the account goes into a negative balance.
For a streamer who is struggling financially, this news can be devastating. Fortunately, however, there are ways that streamers can fight chargebacks and more and more cases are being won.
Common Ways To Identify Fake Twitch Donations
- The user is a new viewer who has never visited your stream in the past.
- They donated almost immediately after joining your stream.
- Several donations were made throughout a stream from the same person.
- The viewer tried several other ways to capture your attention and take over chat.
Even if a viewer is donating to you with actual funds, there are a few ways where you can assume these funds will be charged back. While you should never call someone out for being a scammer (as there are exceptions to every rule and you don’t want to offend an actual fan), you can “write off” the donations immediately in your mind, which will make it less frustrating if a chargeback happens in the future.
Why Do People Make Fake Donations on Twitch?
There are three main reasons why people make fake donations on Twitch. They either think it is funny, they are genuinely cruel, or they really yearn for attention.
Many Trolls Believe that Fake Donations are Funny
Twitch attracts a large audience. Many viewers are quite young and haven’t had to face financial struggles yet. While they may understand what they are doing on some level, they genuinely don’t understand the full impact of what they are doing and believe their actions to be funny. They watch a streamer get excited about the donation and, in their mind, the “joke” is that they know the streamer is excited about nothing.
Many trolls believe that others find their shenanigans as humorous as they do. While other young trolls may, most don’t see the humor in their actions as they know how chargebacks can be devastating for the streamer, and could eventually end good content if the creator stops broadcasting.
Some Trolls Are Cruel
A sad truth about the world is that some people are genuinely cruel. Another truth is that while some people may abstain from hurting people in their day-to-day lives to “save face,” they can easily target people online because there are “no negative consequences” to their actions. Unfortunately, these people will most often remain cruel throughout their lives and will refuse to be taught to be kind to others.
Some Trolls Are Attention Needy
Occasionally, a troll will send a fake donation because they yearn for attention. Having a streamer react with excitement to their donation makes them feel good. The higher the donation, the more excited the broadcaster will act. Most of the time, the troll cannot afford these donations and will charge them back. While they will, most likely, feel remorse for their actions, their need to be validated outweighs their guilt.
If you recognize yourself to be one of these individuals, I urge you to get counseling for your own sake. Often the need for attention stems from depression and anxiety, which can be overcome with affordable help. As someone who has also struggled with depression and anxiety in the past, I can tell you that there are ways that you can recover and lead a mentally healthy life.
As technology progresses, scammers and trolls will find new ways to cause mischief and mayhem. As they adapt, so must we. Continually find new ways to protect yourself and your communities.