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Top 10 TikTok Scams to Look Out For

Cristina POPOV

July 03, 2024

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Top 10 TikTok Scams to Look Out For

As the popularity of TikTok continues to grow, so does the number of scammers on the platform. With TikTok's massive user base expected to exceed 2.2 billion by 2027, it has become a hotspot for scammers. The app has already been downloaded more than 4.7 billion times as of 2024 and was the first non-game, non-Facebook app to reach 3 billion downloads.

Be cautious about clicking on links and believing every story and sales pitch you come across. With new scams appearing online every day, it's essential to always be on guard.

Did you know?

  • Over $2.7 billion dollars was lost to social media fraud in the US between 2021 and mid-2023, according to the FTC.
  • In the fourth quarter of 2023, about 20 million TikTok accounts were removed from the platform due to suspicion of being operated by users under the age of 13.
  • Also, during the same period, TikTok removed around 720 million fake followers on the platform due to fake accounts.

Related: Discover what TikTok knows about you and learn how to limit the information it gathers

TikTok Scams You Should Know About

1. Fake Or Duplicated Celebrity Accounts

Over the past few years, fake celebrity accounts have become a significant problem. Scammers create fake profiles that imitate real celebrities, using stolen content to make their accounts seem genuine. Once these fraudulent accounts appear authentic, scammers use them to deceive people into investing in cryptocurrency or donating to their fake charities.

If a celebrity writes to you, look for:

  1. The big blue verification badge: Genuine accounts have a blue verification badge.
  2. Product promotions: Be cautious if the account immediately promotes products, it’s a red flag.
  3. Giveaways: Fake accounts often run bogus giveaways.
  4. Spelling mistakes: Imposters may use slight variations of the celebrity in the username.
  5. Their profile on other social media: Verify the account by checking other social media platforms for warnings about impersonation.

You can verify the authenticity of a profile by sending it to Scamio, our AI-powered scam detector. Just copy and paste the link to the profile or take a screenshot of it and send it to Scamio. It will analyze it and tell you if it's genuine.

Find out more about Scamio, here.

Related: Audio deepfakes: Celebrity-endorsed giveaway scams and fraudulent investment opportunities flood social media platforms

2. Fake Business Accounts

Similar to fake celebrity accounts, scammers also create fake business accounts, posing as major companies like Apple, Walmart, or Amazon. These accounts often post links to "free giveaways" designed to steal personal information. Even if these fake business profiles seem realistic, avoid clicking on suspicious links. To verify a giveaway, check the company's official social media accounts.

Related: How to spot and protect against the most common Amazon-related scams

3. Fake TikTok Follower Generators

Scammers also exploit people's desire to grow their TikTok following by promoting fake follower generators. These scams often take the form of apps or links that promise to increase followers rapidly. They are typically promoted through direct messages, comments, or bot accounts and are designed to steal your TikTok login information and gain unauthorized access to your account. It's best to steer clear of any follower generators, as they are almost always fraudulent.

Related: 5 Instagram scams exposed. How to protect yourself

4. Fake Verification Badges

Some scammers offer fake verification badges for a fee. The scam usually involves sending a message promising a verification badge at a low cost, leading victims to fill out a form with personal information. Remember, only TikTok can issue official verification badges. Ignore any offers claiming otherwise.

5. Fake Donation Scams

These scams exploit the goodwill of users during crises. Fraudsters create fake donation campaigns for recent events, such as natural disasters or pandemics, to trick people into donating money. To avoid these scams, thoroughly research any organization before donating and look for verified information. Legitimate charities do not pressure individuals into donating.

6. Get Rich Quick Scams

Fraudsters may claim they can take a small amount of money and turn it into a large sum. In reality, there is no legitimate process behind this promise. Once you send your money, it's gone for good. This applies to both cash and cryptocurrencies. Similarly, scammers will promise large financial rewards with minimal effort, often claiming that a famous person will give away money if you follow certain steps.

Here are some red flags to watch for:

1. Upfront Investment: If a scheme requires you to invest your own money, it's likely a scam.

2. Clickbait Promises: Be wary of headlines that promise huge earnings with little effort.

3. Urgency: Scammers often pressure you to act quickly without giving you time to think.

7. Bot Accounts Scams

Bots are automated accounts programmed to interact with users. They may seem genuine at first but are often designed to eventually lead you to malicious websites or trick you into giving up personal information.

Tips to Identify and Avoid Bots:

  1. Look for unusual or repetitive phrases in conversations.
  2. Be wary of strange requests or links.
  3. If you suspect you're interacting with a bot, stop the communication immediately.

8. TikTok Phishing Emails

These emails may offer to verify a badge, provide more followers, or sponsor you in some way. If you click on the link in these emails, you'll be taken to another site that will ask for your TikTok login information. By giving away your credentials, you are essentially giving hackers full access to your account. They might even lock you out of your account entirely.

If you receive random emails, it's best not to open them. If you do open the emails and suspect that they could be a phishing attempt, do not click on any links included therein.

Related: How to Spot and Report Email Scams

9. Bogus products and services

TikTok's marketplace has made it easier for vendors to sell products, but some sellers advertise items that are either fake or not as described. These vendors often disappear after making sales, leaving buyers with subpar products or nothing at all.

If something is being sold for an unbelievably low price, it's best not to trust it. Don't waste your money on a bogus product. Additionally, make sure that you buy only from reputable vendors you've heard about and ones with a blue checkmark by the account name. These accounts are verified by TikTok as genuine businesses.

Related: How to Tell the Difference Between a Holiday Scam and a Genuine Good Deal

10. Promoted scam apps and mobile games

Fake TikTok accounts that may promote scam apps. They will try to trick you into downloading a fake TikTok app or phony mobile games that resemble popular ones like Roblox. The goal is to steal your information or install spyware on your device, or bombard you with ads and malware that can steal your data.

Avoid downloading unknown apps. Some may charge you for services that are free elsewhere. Always read app reviews before downloading. If you see low ratings, it's a sign to stay away.

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Here are 6 more scams to look out for on TikTok:

1. Fake Jobs: Don't trust job offers that promise lots of money quickly or hire you right away. It's safer to look for jobs on websites made for that purpose.

2. Romance Scams: Be careful if someone online says they love you but then asks for money. If they start talking about money, stop talking to them.

3. Gift Card Tricks: Never pay someone with a gift card or let them pay you with one. It's usually a scam.

4. Malicious Links in Bios: A growing tactic on TikTok is placing malicious links in the scammer's bio. These links promise free incentives, but clicking them can install data-stealing malware. Be very mindful of the links you decide to click on while using TikTok.

5. Fake Giveaways and Prizes: Be careful of posts saying you can win something for free. Most of these are lies to get your personal info or money.

6. Credit Score Repair Scam: Don't believe anyone who says they can quickly fix your credit score or remove negative information from your credit report. They're probably lying.

Related: Debt Collection Scams. Is Your Debt Collector Real or a Fraudster? Learn How to Tell

What to do if you've been scammed on TikTok

If you have fallen victim to a scam on TikTok, here's what you can do to minimize the impact:

  1. Report the incident to TikTok.
  2. Change your password for TikTok.
  3. If you've lost money, consider contacting the police.
  4. If you've given any banking information out, call your financial institution and report it immediately.

Tips to help you stay safe from scammers on TikTok:

Keep your account private so fewer users can see it. Only allow your friends to send you messages so you don't get emails from strangers.

In addition:

1.     Be skeptical of get-rich-quick schemes or job offers promising high pay for little work.

2.     Don't send money or gift cards to people you've only met online.

3.     Avoid clicking links in user bios or messages, as they may lead to malware or phishing sites.

4.     Use strong, unique passwords for your TikTok account and enable two-factor authentication.

5.     Be wary of accounts impersonating celebrities or brands, especially those asking for money or personal information.

6.     Don't participate in "money flipping" schemes where users claim they can quickly multiply your investment.

7.     Ignore messages about winning contests you never entered.

8.     Be cautious of romantic interests who develop quickly and ask for financial help.

9.     Research any product or service extensively before making a purchase through TikTok.

10.  Use Scamio, a scam detection tool, to help identify potential scams in TikTok videos and comments.

If you suspect someone is trying to scam you, or a website looks suspicious, check it with Scamio, our AI-powered scam detection tool. Send any texts, messages, links, QR codes, or images to Scamio, which will analyze them to determine if they are part of a scam. Scamio is free and available on Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, and your web browser. You can also help others stay safe by sharing Scamio with them in France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Romania, Australia, and the UK.

11.  Report suspicious accounts or content to TikTok's moderation team.

12.  Be wary of unsolicited investment advice or cryptocurrency schemes.

13.  Don't share personal information like your address, phone number, or financial details on TikTok.

14.  Be cautious of "exclusive" offers or time-limited deals that pressure you to act quickly.

15.  Educate yourself about common scam tactics and stay updated on new trends in social media fraud.


How do you know if someone on TikTok is real?

Start by examining their follower-to-following ratio, as real accounts typically have a more balanced number. For popular accounts, look for the verified badge, which TikTok grants to authentic, notable figures. Pay attention to the consistency and authenticity of their content – real users often have a cohesive style or theme. Genuine accounts also tend to interact naturally with followers in the comments section. Take a close look at their profile information; if it seems realistic and complete, that's a good sign. Finally, consider using a reverse image search on their profile picture to see if it appears elsewhere online.

How to find out who's behind a fake TikTok?

Uncovering the identity behind a fake TikTok account can be challenging, but there are steps you can take. First, use TikTok's reporting feature to flag suspicious accounts for the platform to investigate. Carefully examine their content and bio for any clues that might reveal their true identity. Check if the account is linked to other social media platforms, which might provide additional information. Some online tools can help analyze the account's behavior and posting patterns, potentially revealing inconsistencies. If you suspect the account is impersonating someone, try contacting the real person or brand being imitated. They may be able to confirm whether the account is genuine or take action if it's fake.

What are some red flags that indicate a TikTok account might be a scammer?

Several warning signs can help you identify potential scammers on TikTok. Be wary of accounts that promise unrealistic financial gains or job opportunities – these are often too good to be true. Scammers frequently request money, gift cards, or personal information, so be cautious if you encounter such demands. Watch out for pressure to act quickly on "limited time" offers, as this is a common tactic to prevent you from thinking critically. Inconsistent or low-quality content can also be a red flag, as can accounts with few followers but many likes on posts. Be suspicious of bio links leading to questionable websites. If a stranger behaves overly romantic or friendly, especially early in your interaction, this could be a sign of a romance scam. Lastly, be skeptical of accounts claiming to have inside knowledge about investments or cryptocurrencies, as these are often fronts for financial scams.



Cristina POPOV

Cristina is a freelance writer and a mother of two living in Denmark. Her 15 years experience in communication includes developing content for tv, online, mobile apps, and a chatbot.

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