The Top TikTok Scams You Need to Avoid

Published on
15-01-2024
Author
Aisys
Category
Makers
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Remember when social media was just about interacting with your friends? With every new app that pops up, it always seems like fraud has to follow. TikTok scams are becoming more prevalent every day, and the victims are starting to pile up.

Top TikTok Scams to Look Out For

There are so many different types of TikTok scams that it’s impossible to fit them all in one article. Below, I’ve listed some of the most common and insidious ones that have plagued the popular platform and how to avoid them.

Fake Or Duplicated Celebrity Accounts

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For whatever reason, people just love getting as close as they can to celebrities.

But on TikTok, you can’t trust every celebrity you find.


Fake celebrity accounts have become a complete nuisance over the last few years, tricking millions of people into donating to fake charities and gambling/crypto scams.


Avoiding fake celebrities is easy once you know what to look for:


  1. The big blue verification badge. If they don’t have one, stay away.
  2. Products or affiliate links. If the first thing a celebrity does is push a product on you, chances are, it’s a scam.
  3. Giveaways. These types of fake accounts love to set up fake giveaways.
  4. Spelling mistakes in the username. Since the actual name is usually taken, fraudsters like to use an extra letter or number to trick people who aren’t paying attention.
  5. Check other social media sites the celebrity might have. Did they warn about any accounts that might be impersonating them?


If you suspect that you’re dealing with a fake, flag the account so TikTok can remove it as quickly as possible.

Fake Business Accounts

This one goes hand in hand with fake celebrity accounts. Fake business accounts work the same way, but instead of posing as a celebrity, they present themselves as major companies like Apple, Walmart, Amazon, etc.


These accounts will post links for “free giveaways” designed to steal your information. Fake business accounts can look very realistic, and it’s easy for them to fool people, so don’t feel bad if you’ve been hoodwinked before.


The number one way to avoid TikTok scams like this is to remember not to click any suspicious links. If you think a giveaway might be real, first check the other social media accounts the company has to confirm before clicking any links.

Fake TikTok Follower Generators

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For a lot of people, being on TikTok is an opportunity to grow their following. Cybercriminals know this, and they use that desire as bait.


A fake follower generator usually comes in the form of an app or link that claims to have the ability to grow your following exponentially. These types of scams are usually promoted through DMs, comments, and bot accounts.


The goal of these links and apps is for you to input your TikTok information so the fraudster can steal your account. Once stolen, your personal data is up for grabs.


To avoid this scam, just avoid all follower generators. They’re not worth it in general, and they are against terms of service.


Fake Verification Badges

This one resembles the last scam, as many TikTok users would do anything for a verification badge. It usually goes like this:


  1. The victim gets a message claiming they can get a real verification badge for a low price.

  2. The victim clicks on the link and fills out the form with their personal information. They click Submit.

  3. The victim never gets a verification badge, and their identity is stolen.


The only thing you need to remember here is that only TikTok itself can give out official verification badges. Throw any offer that says otherwise in the trash immediately.

Fake Donation Scams

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These scams are the most insidious on TikTok as they prey on those just trying to help.


Any time a crisis pops up in the real world, you can bet that scammers on TikTok will be there to take advantage. These crafty fraudsters will set up fake donations and charities that look authentic in order to trick good-hearted people into giving up their money.


In the last few years, there have been fake donations and charities for:


  • The devastating earthquake in Syria
  • The California brushfires
  • The Covid 19 pandemic
  • The Ukraine invasion


There is no low these scammers won't stoop to.


The best way to avoid these scams is to do as much research as you can on the organization and make sure they've been verified in some way. These types of scammers will try to use every social engineering trick in the book to fool you, so keep that in mind.


Also, remember that no legitimate charity would try to pressure you into making a donation, which is a major red flag for any scam.


Money Flipping Schemes


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This TikTok scam seems to get more popular every year.


A money-flipping scam is when a fraudster promises that they can take a small amount of money and turn it into big bucks. What exactly is the process of turning some money into a lot of money?


Nobody knows because the process is not real. Neither is a money-flipping service.


This scam has tricked countless people, but it’s one of the easiest ones to avoid. Just remember that there is no such thing as a service that can double or triple your money.


Don’t send your money to these people; you’ll never see it again. That goes for crypto and gift cards as well.

Get-Rich-Quick Schemes

Everything I said about money-flipping scams can be applied here, but there’s an additional issue when it comes to get-rich-quick schemes.


Get-rich-quick programs are as old as time, and those with experience dealing with them can spot one a mile away. For example, the classic Nigerian prince scam that exploded during the 1990’s.


But for younger people who haven’t gotten tricked by one of these schemes in the past, TikTok can be a mind field of financial traps to avoid. For those without the wisdom of falling for a get-rich-quick scheme, here are the three main red flags to look out for:


  1. Upfront Investment - If the point of the opportunity is to make yourself rich quickly, then why do you have to put up your own money? It’s understandable if they ask you for a small amount of cash, but some of these schemes ask for hundreds to thousands of dollars, and that’s a major red flag.
  2. Clickbait - Have you ever seen a headline that reads like this: “Earn six figures with just a push of a button!” Next time you do, run away immediately.
  3. Urgency - One of the main things these scammers want is to get you to act as quickly as possible without thinking about the consequences. If you’re feeling pressured to an uncomfortable degree, you’re probably dealing with a get-rich scheme.


Fake TikTok Apps

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Yes, cybercriminals have even managed to create fake versions of the TikTok app for unexpected victims to download.


These TikTok imposters promise thousands of views and followers, but they’re really designed to steal your information or install spyware on your device.


To avoid these scam apps, make sure to only download apps that TikTok itself has released. Don’t be tempted by fake apps; they’re not worth it.


Even More TikTok Scams

Here are ten more quick scams to look out for on TikTok:


  1. Fake Jobs — These have been popping up all over TikTok. Avoid any job offer that promises big money quickly or a job offer that “hires you” the same day. Actually, it may be best to avoid any job offer on TikTok and stick with sites like LinkedIn.
  2. Romance Scams - These scams are usually a long con. Once a romance scammer sinks their teeth into a victim, it can take weeks, even months, for them to start asking for “favors.” The general rule here is once they bring up money, cut them loose.
  3. Gift Card Scams - Never pay someone or accept payment in the form of a gift card. It’s always a scam. And even in the slim chance that it isn’t, it’s not worth it.
  4. Malicious Links in Bios - A tactic growing in popularity on TikTok is placing malicious links in the scammer's bio. These links promise free incentives, but clicking them installs data-stealing malware. Be very mindful of the links you decide to click on while using TikTok.
  5. Bogus Products and Services - Be very wary about what you buy on TikTok. Because of the popularity of the site, there are thousands of counterfeit goods that you need to look out for.
  6. Fake Giveaways - This one goes hand in hand with some of the other TikTok scams on this list. Basically, if you see the term “Giveaway,” click away.
  7. Bot Accounts - They’re everywhere, especially on TikTok. It may be best to assume that you’re interacting with a bot until you know otherwise.
  8. Mobile Game Scams - Downloading one of these fake mobile games can lead to your information or identity getting stolen. The most popular version of this scam today is fake Roblox apps. If you play Roblox, do your research before downloading anything.
  9. Credit Repair Scams - This scam is all about broken promises. If anyone says that they can remove negative information from your credit report on TikTok, don’t believe them.
  10. Phishing - Phishing scams are prevalent on every platform, and TikTok is no different. If you receive an email offering you more followers, a sponsorship, or a verification badge, delete it as fast as possible.


Final Thoughts

It’s a shame that the more popular a social media app gets, the more scam artists it attracts. This bite-sized app was supposed to be about watching short videos, and now it’s full of TikTok scams.


The same advice for other social media apps rings true here: be careful what links you click, and don’t trust every story and sales pitch you hear.


New scams are popping up online every day. Always keep that in mind.



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